FIQ (Fédération Interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec)

It’s being done on the backs of workers, Mr. Minister!

I was beside myself, the morning of March 2, when I learned about the article in Le Devoir in which the minister for natural resources has taken the side of the employer in the labour conflict involving Rio Tinto Alcan and the workers in its Alma plant. Using the excuse that he is an economist, Clément Gignac glorifies sub-contracting, at the same time forgetting that he is now a minister and that he should not pass comment lightly on such a subject.

Thank God, Mr. Gignac looks after natural resources and not human resources: that is at least a small comfort! Then, only to notice that the Liberal’s Plan Nord seems to be in the process of transforming itself into a cheap fire sale of our resources in favour of the multinationals, leaving me with a short-lived consolation.

Getting back to the issue at hand. Minister Gignac states that sub-contracting promotes competition among businesses, but he forgets to say that this is done on the backs of workers. In fact, sub-contractors provide Rio Tinto Alcan a labour force that is paid half of what their unionized workers earn. To avoid conflicts as a result of these flagrant inequalities, they have scheduled the two groups to work different shifts so that they will come into contact with each other as little as possible.

If Marc Maltais, President of the Syndicat des travailleurs de l’usine d’Alma, "villainizes" sub-contracting, then to borrow the words of Minister Gignac, maybe it is as some say, that "it’s reached the breaking point".

The public already substantially finances Rio Tinto Alcan and other companies which make enormous profits. Must it also become the workhorse, at the service of these millionaires with no scruples and without a sense of citizenship?

That the electorship in MNA Gignac’s county beware. The message he is sending is clear: "the devil with the middle class and everything for industry!"

The healthcare professionals are waging a similar battle in the health sector and, in spite of their demands, the Charest government continues to enrich the private placement agencies by closing its eyes to the harmful effects that this can have on the workers and the patients. In the current context, we can honestly say that the FIQ is keeping an eye open!