At a special general meeting on March 15, Montreal municipal white-collar workers voted 81.4% in favour of a new collective agreement.
On February 26, following intense negotiations, the Montreal white-collar workers’ union (SFMM–CUPE 429) announced the suspension of the strike. The parties worked with the help of a conciliator from the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity. The recommendation of the conciliator was presented to the members on March 15.
“Thanks to the solidarity and mobilization of the members, we have made ourselves heard. Within the context that the City wanted to privatize a large number of services, our priority was to save our jobs. Several thousand jobs were at stake. We also settled the issue of pension plans within the framework of Bill 15, as well as wages up till December 2018,” explained Alain Fugère, union president.
The new contract is for a period of seven years. The wage increases are 2% for each of the first four years (2012 to 2015), 2.5% for the years 2016 and 2017, and 1.75% to 2% in 2018; depending on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
The 8,000 employees of the City of Montreal were without a labour agreement for more than four years. They engaged in several days of strikes, after voting in October 2014 to authorize means of exerting pressure, up to and including strike action.
“We have managed to come out well within a difficult political context. On behalf of the union executive, I congratulate all of the white-collar workers for their support throughout the entire negotiation process,” concluded Fugère.