Fearing that road works will be delayed, the president of the Treasury Board, Sonia LeBel, urges government engineers to return to the negotiating table and respond to the latest employer offer, which she considers substantial and unprecedented.
• Read also: The integrity of the Quebec and Pierre-Laporte bridges “compromised”, according to the engineers' union
“The engineers have left the table and I find that unacceptable,” denounced the President of the Treasury Board, the day after the filing of a new proposal for regulation at the Professional Association of Engineers of the Government of Quebec (APIGQ).
According to the new offer, the remuneration of engineers, which currently starts at $54,000 a year, would increase to $62,000, in particular by increasing the work week from 35 hours to 37.5 hours.
At the maximum level, the most experienced engineers would see their salary increase from $96,000 to $122,000.
“These are salary increases that are considerable,” argued Ms. LeBel, who wanted to take stock of the state of the negotiations.
The latter made the headlines last week, following a union release on the state of critical road infrastructure such as the Quebec and Pierre-Laporte bridges.
An agreement to ensure essential services has also been reached in the last few hours, so that the necessary inspections and maintenance will be carried out despite the strike underway since April 22.
"APIGQ and its members will make no compromise to ensure public safety," the engineers' union assured in a press release.
"Even if I respect the means of pressure in life, we cannot play on people's fear and we cannot insinuate that people's safety is in danger", reacted Ms. LeBel, assuring that he did not there is "no imminent danger" to the structures in question.
Ms. LeBel accuses the union of taking "the road structures of Quebec hostage" instead of negotiating.
If an agreement between the two parties is slow in coming, “we will have lots of projects that will have to be postponed until next year,” fears Minister LeBel.
“If we accept what is on the table, government engineers will continue to be the worst paid in Quebec compared to other engineers in the public and private sectors,” responded APIGQ president Marc- Andrew Martin.
“Sonia Lebel takes the figures that are favorable to her. The amounts proposed affect less than 20% of our members,” he added in a written statement sent to the Journal.