Quebec premier urges crane operators back to work as ‘illegal’ strike continues

Construction cranes are at a standstill on the construction site of the new Champlain bridge in Montreal on Monday, June 18, 2018. Crane operators are off the job Monday across Quebec, angry over new provincial training requirements. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is warning the province’s crane operators there will be consequences for what he called an illegal strike, which has entered its second day.

The premier said today in Quebec City workers who don’t return to their jobs could face penalties from the province’s construction commission.

READ MORE: Crane operators off the job in Quebec to protest new training rules

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Construction sites across the province have been disrupted since Monday after many of Quebec’s 2,000 crane operators walked off the job.

Operators working on the city’s replacement bridge connecting Montreal with its south shore have been striking since last week.

READ MORE: Crane operators protest in front of Couillard’s Montreal office

The province’s crane workers are protesting changes to training requirements that will permit people without a vocational diploma to obtain an operator’s certificate.

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The union representing operators says the new program is less thorough and could lead to a rise in workplace accidents.

Quebec’s construction commission has said the strike is illegal because it violates the workers’ collective agreements.

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