Quebec Construction Strike: Let’s Stop the Employers for Good

We have translated the following leaflet from our Canadian affiliate the GIO which has been distributed in the construction workers’ strike now taking place in Montreal. The strike broke out on Monday June 17 2013, the day the UPAC (permanent anti corruption unit) puts handcuffs on interim Montreal Mayor Michael Applebaum, for 14 counts of charges, all related to collusion with builders. This interim mayor had replaced Gérald Tremblay, who had chosen to resign following revelations by the Charbonneau Commission on widespread corruption in the construction industry. The mayor of Laval (3rd largest city in Quebec) was also arrested and the city itself placed under trusteeship by the Quebec government.

The employers want to reduce the rate for overtime from double time to time and half (but overtime is only possible after a very long basic working week which the employers apparently want to increase). The employers are offering only a one percent increase whilst the unions are demanding 3% (given real inflation that is not much either). Construction accounts for about 15% of GDP and July is the most significant time in the construction calendar. The Mayor of Quebec City Labeaume has threatened that he “would not hestitate” to legislate an end to the strike.

The Union Alliance is confined within the law, which means disclosure of the route of the demo today, as well as guidelines for their members against the “agitators” and asked their members to respect all laws.

More than 100,000 male and female workers in the construction industry have been on strike. The strike is the result of the bad faith of the employers who propose to bin decades of workers' struggles in a single negotiation. The bosses were naive enough to believe that the working class would not fight.

This is the same conflict that took place in the MAPAI factory in Laval last year, against the conservative reform of unemployment insurance, against the Marois government’s welfare cuts or against austerity budgets worldwide. The capitalists try to make we workers pay for their mistakes. We are the only true wealth creators. We should not pay for their mismanagement or their businesses. The fact is their system showed it was broken in 2008. We do not have to pay the price for an economy in which we have no say, the bourgeois who run it should pay for its failures. We do not have to accept any sacrifice just to fill their pockets.

The fight has just begun and already the rumours of special laws are being circulated. The state and the capitalists have always been together against workers and workers. If there is a solution imposed by the Marois government, it will no doubt be pro-business. The fight is too important to be lost, and respect for capitalist legality can only lead to defeat. If there are special laws, the strike must continue as strongly as possible. To do this, committees of workers, independent trade unions and organisations of all covered by the law must form workers’ committees should be used to maintain the strike in structures that are not governed by the law and maintain unity between the workers, if the central leadership abandons the strikers.

Another question must also be asked: do we have to constantly fight to defend our rights and our achievements? Will we accept that our dignity is challenged in each collective bargaining process? The capitalist system can not provide a decent life for workers in the long term. The capitalist system must be replaced by a system that works for workers, which means the well-being of humans come before profit, where economic power is controlled democratically by all those involved in economic life . This system has a name, a name certainly soiled by the atrocities of bureaucrats who are used to conceal their bloody dictatorship, but a name that we have to stop being afraid. This system is communism.

The internationalist worker group is a group of workers, male and female, workers who are fighting for the socialisation of the means of production, the abolition of the wages system, for a society led by the workers' assemblies and for economic and political system that has as basis the maxim state : “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” We are not messiahs or bureaucrats or cult leaders, but the proletariat engaged in the struggle of our class for a better world. If this fight is yours, join us!

Published by: le Groupe internationaliste ouvrier,

Section de la Internationalist Communist Tendency

2275 Fullum, #4, Montréal, Qc. H2K 3P4

Facebook: Groupe internationaliste ouvrier

Saturday, June 22, 2013