Government to make 'final and comprehensive' offer to striking lawyers

Treasury board president Pierre Moreau accused government lawyers of moving away from common ground, and announced that a final offer would be presented Thursday night.

Moreau made the decision following a report by his negotiators who saw a growing gap in the talks.

According to Moreau, the union representing Quebec lawyers and notaries (LANEQ) presented on Tuesday a new offer that moved away from that of the government.

“Obviously, we are very close to positions that are intransigent on behalf of LANEQ and for the government, there are parameters that are unavoidable,” he said in a conference call.

Moreau said that this “unacceptable” offer would force the government to “abdicate its right of stewardship to a third party.”

A fifth “final and comprehensive” offer from the government was to be presented to LANEQ representatives Thursday night. One of the important issues is the recognition of the independent status of jurists, which would depend on a committee’s evaluation.

Moreau stated the government is prepared to entrust to the Superior Court Chief Justice, the choice of the third member of that committee in the event of a dispute between union members and the government, who would have the power to choose one.

Previously, the government retained the power to designate the committee’s third member in case of a disagreement, the minister said.

“Essentially, the proposal takes into account what LANEQ asked us about the composition of the committee,” he said.

The minister expects a report from his negotiators within 24 hours, which will allow him to make his recommendations to the government.

“It’s not a special law,” he said. The report that I am asking for within 24 hours will tell me whether there is a willingness to negotiate or not. On the basis of that report, I will make recommendations to the government. ”

Moreau did not rule out the use of a special law to force the return of lawyers, who have been on strike since October.

“If there is no progress, at some point we will have to make a decision,” he said. (…) The conflict can last another two weeks if there is progress in the negotiations. ”

Moreau, who argued that he had responded to the legal wage peer request with Crown prosecutors, indicated that the government was prepared to make some adjustments to its final offer, as long as the financial framework was respected.

“There is no longer any need for much effort,” he said. If there are discussions for adjustments at the margin, we can still discuss them. ”

LANEQ president, Jean Denis, said he would not comment before he could analyze the government’s new offer.

In a statement, the group was outraged that the government imposed a 24-hour deadline. He described the “surprise” public release of Minister Moreau “a serious lack of respect for the negotiation process and the negotiators of both parties.”