Hundreds of state engineers staged a symbolic march on Quebec Bridge on the first day of the strike, Friday morning, to condemn “unimaginable” pay delays.
• Also read: The Endless Strike of Engineers: Demonstrations in Montreal and Quebec
“A civil engineer in the government is the one who is least paid in all of Quebec. It’s unimaginable! plague Marc-André Martin, President of the Professional Association of Government Engineers in Quebec (APIGQ).
At around 8:30 a.m., he was one of about 700 individuals who crossed the line between the two banks to condemn the government’s lack of openness in its negotiations, which lasted more than two years.
A symbolic gesture for the organizers, because it represents the gateway to the city where most of the members of APIGQ are located. It is also the infrastructure that government engineers have been working on for decades.
“With $ 77 billion invested in infrastructure over the next three years, there is money for everyone except the engineers who will have to manage these large investments. It’s incomprehensible, “complains Mr. Martin, who represents almost 1,800 employees.
Delay to catch up
The strike, which began on Friday, is a “direct response” to the salary offer submitted by the Ministry of Finance secretariat. According to APIGQ, this supply would not be higher than current inflation.
Nevertheless, a report issued by Judge Paul-Arthur Gendreau in 2019 indicated that government engineers lagged 32.1% behind their counterparts in other public services and cities.
Other government professionals earn on average “only” 18.7% less than their market.
This situation is causing a major problem in attracting and retaining engineering expertise in the state, he says.
“We are ready to dilute our wine.” They are asked to arrive as late as the others, catching up with 14.7%. But the Ministry of Finance has swept it aside without explaining why, “Marc-André Martin condemns.
Bitume Québec, which brings together asphalt suppliers from the province, said on Thursday that it fears the “dramatic” consequences of such a strike on various major roads, which is set to begin in the coming weeks.
APIGQ also confirms that if the strike continues, it will have major repercussions in the province. “We want a quick result, but we are ready for it to last,” says the president of the association.
The Ministry of Transport (MTQ) states that the basic services, especially inspections or emergency interventions, will be maintained.
The Secretariat of the Finance Council, invited to respond, stated that it had submitted a “significant offer […] Gendreau reports, [incluant] increase in rewards and proposals, which demonstrates the seriousness the government attaches to engineers. “
About a hundred APIGQ members also met in Montreal, in front of the offices of the General Directorate General of the MTQ Region.