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Quebec construction strike: unions reject ACQ offer despite threat of back-to-work legislation

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WATCH ABOVE: The unions representing striking construction workers have rejected a last-minute deal by the Quebec Construction Association, despite impending back-to-work legislation – May 28, 2017

Striking Quebec construction workers have rejected a last-minute deal put on the table Sunday afternoon by the Quebec Construction Alliance (ACQ).

The ACQ made the final offer after a 48-hour negotiation blitz and gave the Alliance Syndicale, an umbrella organization grouping together several unions representing striking construction workers until 4 p.m. to respond.

The construction companies, represented by the ACQ,  had described the now rejected proposal,  as “win-win,” as it took into account work-life balance, a key demand from the unions.

READ MORE: Striking Quebec construction workers march for family time

Under the deal, salaried employees would have benefited from a four-day week, the ACQ said in a statement, adding it went above and beyond what the unions requested.

In terms of salary increases, the ACQ was offering a 1.85 per cent increase the first year and two per cent for subsequent years.

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READ MORE: Quebec construction strike: Premier promises back-to-work legislation next week

Meanwhile, the Philippe Couillard government has recalled all MNAs to the National Assembly in order to table back-to-work legislation Monday morning.

Quebec’s Labour Minister Dominique Vien had expressed hope the legislation would not be necessary, and that both sides involved in the dispute could come to a mutual agreement.

READ MORE: Quebec construction strike: Little to show for at bargaining table on Day 3

For its part, the Alliance Syndicale threatened legal proceedings come Monday morning against the ACQ, arguing negotiations were made in bad faith.

The alliance has planned a major protest in front of the National Assembly Monday to denounce the government’s proposed back-to-work legislation.

Some 175,000 construction workers have been off the job since Wednesday after declaring a general unlimited strike.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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