The longest Canadian strike by public civil servants came to an abrupt end after the Quebec government passed a special law that compelled striking government lawyers and notaries back-to-work following a labour conflict that paralyzed the province’s administrative justice system and incapacitated the government’s efforts to pass legislation and enact regulations.
A general strike by Quebec government lawyers and notaries shows no signs of abating as the provincial government is remaining firm while the bargaining agent has received the approval of the overwhelming majority of its members to shore up its war chest.
Without a contract for more than a year, the 1,100 members of the Les avocats et notaires de l’État québécois (LANEQ) have been on strike since late October to push for a change in the negotiation process from the current mediation process. LANEQ is calling for binding arbitration, buoyed by a compensation committee, with a chair chosen and appointed by both parties. The mandate of the compensation committee would include assessing reasonable compensation while taking into the account the provincial government’s capacity to pay. In exchange, the association is willing to give up its right to strike. (Quebec Crown prosecutors are not part of the strike).
Exasperated that labour negotiations with the Quebec government are at a standstill, provincial crown prosecutors and government lawyers have joined forces to launch a general strike that will likely cripple the province’s justice system — unless there is a striking turnabout in the government’s seemingly unyielding stance.
Asserting that they are the worst-paid in the country and woefully understaffed, making it all but impossible to recruit new staff and adhere to their code of professional conduct, members of the Quebec crown counsel association (APCPPQ) and the Association des juristes de l’État (AJE) recently voted overwhelmingly – a 90 per cent landslide — in favour of a general strike.