Canadian construction workers on all-out strike in Quebec

Since Wednesday 24 May 175,000 construction workers in Quebec province have been on an all-out “general” strike. This is a repeat of the same strike in 2013 which was halted through a "loi spéciale" passed by the Quebec National Assembly ordering the strikers back to work. This is expected to be repeated today on the grounds that the strike is costing $45 million a day.

The province of Québec is the only province in Canada where construction workers are obliged to belong to a union. A lot of these workers are small registered contractors in their spare time which give them the advantages of tax deductions while still being employees with salaries over $80,000.

The construction sector is the most unionized sector in Québec province. About five years ago, the unions got the authority to manage the deployment of workers to sites (it was called the “placement syndical”) so they played immediately some kind of a management role like a boss. If union bosses didn't like you, you would have tough times finding job as a construction workers. However this role has now passed to the Québec Construction Commission.

Construction workers have a reputation for being combative and defiant . They are impressive in their numbers and actions but they don't have the same class consciousness as other industrial workers who see themselves as nothing more than … workers.

[based on material from sympathisers in Montréal]