The 1,800 state engineers began an indefinite general strike at midnight on Friday that could bring more than a hundred major construction sites to a halt in the province, in addition to slowing down the analyzes or authorizations needed for dozens of others in municipalities or on the roads of Quebec.
Posted at 7:00 a.m.
The engineers, who denounce the deadlock in their salary negotiations for three years, will demonstrate this Friday morning near the Quebec Bridge as well as in front of the building of the Ministry of Transport of Quebec (MTQ), in downtown Montreal, towards the end of the morning rush hour, to signify their displeasure. The union members are demanding a major catch-up salary in order to get closer to their colleagues in the private sector and other public sectors, which would represent an addition of 20 million per year on the state payroll, according to the president of the Association professionnelle des Quebec government engineers, Marc-André Martin.
The construction industry is already worried about the repercussions of a strike which could further shorten the construction season. In a press release published Thursday, the president of Bitume Québec, Tytus Zurawski, estimated that a strike by state engineers “would be a real disaster for the industry and [pour] users of the road network, which constitutes the backbone of our national economy”.
“This threat could also lead, according to Bitume Québec, to irreparable collateral damage among contractors”, bitumen suppliers and bituminous mix producers throughout Québec.
Joined by The Pressthe office of the Minister of Transport of Quebec, François Bonnardel, did not call us back.
More than 1,200 of the 1,800 engineers in the Quebec government, or two-thirds, work at the Quebec Ministry of Transport. In the absence of striking union members, all construction sites supervised by MTQ engineers will have to be interrupted. Infrastructure projects that have not yet received all the necessary authorizations to be launched will be put on hold. Annual inspections of MTQ structures (bridges, retaining walls) will also be interrupted.
On the other hand, assures Marc-André Martin, government engineers will be available to respond to any emergency. “We are committed to essential services that cover everything related to the health or safety of the public,” he says. We have people for emergency work, emergency inspections, whether in the environment, at the MTQ, at the CNESST or in electrical engineering – in all areas. »
The previous strike by Quebec government engineers, in 2017, lasted three weeks and had major consequences on construction sites, such as the reconstruction of the Turcot interchange and the replacement of the old Champlain Bridge.