Quebec government engineers to go on unlimited general strike: union

In this photo taken Tuesday, May 7, 2013, an engineer displays the wires that run inside a 1,000-metre cable to be used as a tether to an undersea observatory. (AP / Elaine Thompson)

The 1,770 engineers employed by the Quebec government say they plan to begin an indefinite general strike starting Oct. 14 to "defend their professional responsibility," their union announced Monday.

The Association professionnelle des ingénieurs du gouvernement du Québec (APIGQ), which includes engineers employed mainly by the ministries of transport and environment, say its members voted 85.5 per cent in favour of the strike in a week-long vote in which 83 per cent participated.

In a press release, their president says the Quebec government does not give its engineers "the mandate or the tools to ensure proper oversight and due diligence" of contracts with outside consulting engineering firms.

"For too long, we have been asked to approve these contracts with our eyes closed as engineers. This situation violates our independence and our professional responsibility. This is no longer tolerable," wrote union leader Marc-André Matin.

The union maintains that its members do not have the technological tools necessary for their work, up-to-date training on engineering practices, written mandates "and, in many cases, they don't have the authorization of their employer to interfere in the technical content of plans and specifications that they review."

The engineers previously went on strike in mid-July during evenings, nights and weekends, but it did not change the Treasury Board's position.

According to the union, Quebec City is refusing to discuss the issues in dispute, "an impasse that leaves no alternative but an indefinite general strike."

In response, the office of the president of the Treasury Board indicated that the government is "willing to come to an agreement quickly."

"We are still in negotiations. We will not make any further comments," said Florence Plourde, spokesperson for Minister Sonia LeBel, in a brief message to The Canadian Press.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Oct. 4, 2021.

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