Quebec provincial park employees hold walkout amid impending general strike
A walkout is underway at some of Quebec’s provincial parks on Wednesday morning as a labour dispute heats up.
About 300 employees are holding protests outside several parks, including the Montmorency Falls Park and management headquarters for the Société des établissements de plein air du Québec (SÉPAQ).
The workers’ union, the Syndicat de la fonction publique et parapublique du Québec (SFPQ), announced last week that strike notices were sent out to management and the province.
The main sticking point is salaries. Most of the workers are seasonal and many of them make between $13 and $14 per hour, according to the union.
As negotiations continue, SÉPAQ tabled a second offer to the union on Monday. The union submitted a counter-offer on Tuesday, which was rejected.
Management has asked for the province’s labour ministry to appoint a mediator to the case. The union, for its part, argues that management’s efforts to settle the labour dispute have not gone far enough.
A general strike is planned to start this coming weekend when the construction holiday begins in Quebec. On Saturday, about 1,500 workers will walk out at 23 parks across the province.
Union president Christian Daigle said he hopes the two sides can work it out before Saturday, but adds they are “still far away” from reaching a tentative agreement.
In the event of a strike, SÉPAQ’s management has vowed to do everything it can to maintain services in provincial parks. All affected parks will remain open, it added.
“Every effort will be made to minimize the inconvenience caused by this situation for visitors to SÉPAQ institutions,” management said in a statement.
The parks expected to be affected by Saturday’s strike are the following:
- Aiguebelle National Park
- Anticosti National Park
- Bic National Park
- Bonaventure Island and Rocher-Percé National Park
- Frontenac National Park
- Gaspésie National Park
- Grand Jardins National Park
- Îles-de-Boucherville National Park
- Jacques Cartier National Park
- Lake Témiscouata National Park
- Miguasha National Park
- Mont-Mégantic National Park
- Mont-Orford National Park
- Mont-Saint-Bruno National Park
- Mont Tremblant National Park
- Monts-Vallin National Park
- Oka National Park
- Opémican National Park
- Plaisance National Park
- Pointe-Taillon National Park
- Saguenay National Park
- Upper Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie National Park
- Yamaska National Park
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—With files from the Canadian Press
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