By the Coalition Against Precarious Work
An official request was made on September 25th, 2014 by the members of the Coalition Against Precarious Work to have a meeting with Quebec’s Minister of Labour, Sam Hamad, which was scheduled for February 23rd, 2015. The meeting never happened, so we held a protest instead.
Initially, we asked to meet the Minister to discuss the precarious working conditions in Quebec. After waiting several weeks, we were offered a meeting in Quebec City only several days in advance of the proposed date. We were not able to gather members to attend on such short notice; as well, our Coalition is based in Montreal, therefore we asked for the meeting to be held in that city.
Finally, we confirmed a meeting with 7 representatives from the Coalition and the Minister to take place in Montreal. We asked for the meeting to be held in the evening, so that many of our working members would be able to participate. The meeting scheduled several weeks ago was to be held on February 23rd at 3:00PM. However, on Wednesday, February 18th, we were asked to only have four Coalition representatives at the meeting with the Minister, and that this number was non-negotiable; this added to our frustration with the Minister. Four days before the scheduled meeting, the Minister once again acted in bad faith and changed the meeting time to 9:30AM, which again was non-negotiable.
Four days before the scheduled meeting, the Minister once again acted in bad faith and changed the meeting time to 9:30AM, which again was non-negotiable.
We believe this to be a blatant lack of respect by the Minister towards the members of our organization, and clearly displays how he does not care about the precarious situation of workers in Quebec.
Despite his disrespectful nature, we were ready to put aside our differences, collaborate with the Minister’s requests, and take the opportunity to meet with the Minister and understand his concerns; yet, the disrespectful nature in which we have been treated in these past few days shows us that the Minister clearly has no intention on listening to the most precarious workers in Quebec. It is unacceptable that the meeting time and restrictions that were confirmed upon by both parties were changed at the last minute without with Coalitions consent.
We demonstrated in front of the Minister’s office to show him our aggravation and frustration, and to show that the Minister does not care about the working conditions of the Quebec population. The Minister cannot ignore us. We represent a growing part of Quebec’s workforce and we contribute to the Quebec economy just the same!
We are also taking the opportunity to publicly state our demands regarding the precarious working conditions in Quebec:
1) An increase of the minimum wage, higher than a subsistence wage, to a salary of $15/hour, so that workers can fulfill their needs and provide for their families.
2) Ensure universal access to health services, social services and labour rights, regardless of immigration status.
3) Ensure codified and enforced regulation and oversight of temporary placement and recruitment agencies and their client companies, and facilitate the complaints system for abused workers.
4) End discrimination against domestic workers by allowing them full access to CSST rights.
5) Open the application for permanent residence program under the “Quebec Experience Program” to all sub-programs of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program.
The Coalition is composed of 7 founding organizations: The Temporary Agency Workers Association (TAWA), The Temporary Foreign Workers Association (TFWA), PINAY, the Immigrant Workers Center, Dignidad Migrante, Mexicans United for Regularisation (MUR), and the Spanish Immigrants Collective of Montreal. Many community organizations and unions have joined to support the Coalition as well.
IWC (514) 342-2111