Retired blue-collar workers protest Bill 3
MONTREAL – A new set of voices took to the streets to protest the pension reform legislation.
Hundreds of retired city workers say they also have a lot to lose if Bill 3 becomes law.
Some retirees are so worried that they’re considering going back to work.
They gathered on McGill College avenue, just outside the Quebec Premier’s office Wednesday.
READ MORE: Bill 3 public hearings open in Quebec City
They say their golden years don’t appear to be as golden as first thought.
“Instead of eating a t-bone steak, I’ll have a can of beans,” joked Brian Taylor, a retired blue-collar worker.
Taylor says he’s worried about the proposed pension reform legislation and may pick up a full-time job at the age of 75.
“I work on a golf course five days a week and every second weekend to supplement my pension income,” he said.
Union leaders say if Bill 3 is passed as it is retirees will lose some of their pension income and annual cost-of-living increases would be scrapped.
“It means thousands of dollars less,” said Claude Forget, a retired police officer.
“We don’t have big big pensions,” agreed Jean-Louis Dechantal, also a retired police officer.
“If there’s six per cent per year of augmentation, I have nothing, you know?”
Yet, analysts say there’s another side to the debate.
“The union is not a victim, the union members are not victims,” said former borough councillor Karim Boulos.
He says municipal budgets have dropped drastically and Bill 3 is a necessity.
“The city cannot afford to continue to pay out pension contributions that are based on pension funds set up 20-30 years ago.” said Boulos.
“Back then the interest rates were 10-12-14 per cent, today you’re lucky to get 2-3-4.”
READ MORE: Quebec pension tensions on the rise
Wednesday’s protest was a peaceful one.
Police officers blocked off the front entrance of the Premier’s office and they were very present, almost prepared for the worst.
Some officers were equipped in riot gear, which is very different to Monday night’s invasion of city hall.
This protest may have been without incident, but union bosses are already promising more disruptions in the future.
Jean Lapierre, a union leader, says they’re already planning on being present at Montreal’s 375th anniversary bash, which takes place in 2017.
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