Investissement Québec lawyers on strike

Lawyers at Investissement Québec have begun a five-day strike after failing to finalize a collective agreement with their employer.

The 11 lawyers working for Investissement Québec, the province’s investment arm, are unhappy with what they say is their employer’s about-face on an agreement in principle reached with its negotiators in December 2012. The lawyers are all members of the Association des juristes de l’Etat. According to association president Sébastien Rochette, Investissement Québec is demonstrating “amateurism” in collective bargaining.

The association is accusing Investissement Québec of having reneged on the deal agreed to in December on the basis that its senior management hadn’t authorized it. The association says the Investissement Québec lawyers are the only members of the organization representing Quebec public sector lawyers without a new collective agreement in place. The agreement in principle reached in December would cover the 2010-15 period.

Investissement Québec is a public body whose goal is to promote investment and employment around the province. Its activities include financial support and investment, such as last week’s announcement of $1 billion in loans for purchases of Bombardier Inc.’s C series aircraft assembled in Quebec.

The association represents more than 1,000 legal professionals working for various Quebec government bodies.

In a statement, Rochette noted he’s concerned with the “way the organization is managing an issue as simple as its labour relations with 12 of its employees.” The lawyers will be on the streets picketing until Friday this week in both Quebec City and Montreal.

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