Sep 15, 2014
On August 18, municipal workers invaded Quebec’s town hall before a council meeting to protest the government’s attack on their pensions. The mayor hid in his office, while elected officials called the workers hooligans, comparing them to the separatists in the Ukraine! Forty-four workers, including 30 firefighters, face suspension without pay. Another 24 employees, including the head of a Montreal public workers’ union, face sanctions. And the police were criticized for NOT beating the demonstrators!
These workers are protesting the attack of the Quebec government against their already low pensions. A new law was passed to force current workers to increase their contributions to the pension plan and to harm those already retired, by not allowing an increase in their pensions when prices rise.
Among the reactions to the government’s attack were fire brigade and police vehicles covered with stickers that said, “WE stole nothing,” referring to a scandal involving construction bids and the administration of Montreal.
There have been demonstrations in Montreal and Quebec, as well as other towns. A similar bill is being prepared by legislators to attack private sector pensions and university workers’ pensions.
If there is a deficit, it is thanks to the 2008 financial crisis and its impact in cutting local budgets. But the government of Quebec serves capitalist interests well by transferring the impact of the crisis onto the workers. The press has even accused the workers of being “privileged” – because they still have pensions!
Meanwhile, the mayor of Montreal gets an annual pension equal to about $79,000 per year. No crisis for him!
The workers of Quebec made it clear they have no intention to just stand by, tolerating his policies.