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Québec requires lawyers to return to work Wednesday morning

28-02-2017

PHOTO SIMON CLARK

BILLS ON THE ICE

 

The absence of lawyers has slowed the work of the state, as well as the government. The lawyers' union, Lawyers and Notaries of the State of Quebec (LANEQ), estimates that it has blocked the drafting of 20 bills, including that on dangerous dogs, and some 220 draft regulations.

 

In addition, 1,500 criminal cases of income, involving fines of $ 34 million, would have fallen behind and could now fall because of the Jordan judgment, according to LANEQ. Contracts worth more than $ 800 million have also been awarded without legal advice.

 

Finance Minister Carlos Leitao also acknowledged that the continuation of the strike would have complicated the implementation of the provincial budget planned for the end of March.

 

A DRY UNION

 

LANEQ quickly exhausted its $ 4 million strike fund. The lawyers then had to borrow an additional $ 8 million to continue their pressure tactics.

 

Since January 27, the union's finances are dry and its 1100 members lose $ 1 million a week.

 

According to LANEQ's estimate, Quebec has saved some $ 34 million in wages since the beginning of the conflict.

 

DID QUEBEC FORGET THE REVENUE AGENCY?

 

Deprived of its lawyers, has the Couillard government forgotten to include the lawyers of the Revenue Agency by drafting the special law? Indeed, these are not covered by the law.

 

The LANEQ president believes he knows where the error occurred. "Articles 1 to 20 is a copy-paste of what was done in 2011," says Jean Denis. Once a department, Revenu Québec has since become an Agency and its employees have changed status.

 

The President of the Conseil du trésor, Pierre Moreau, says rather that they are not covered precisely because of the special status of the Revenue Agency. "And the status of their negotiations is not the same as that of the state's lawyers who are covered by 127," he says.

 

NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE

 

Despite the return to work, the negotiations between the government and LANEQ will continue for a period of 105 days, according to the bill. If the lawyers and Quebec do not agree, the government will impose a renewal of the collective agreement expired in 2015, with a wage increase of 6.75%.

 

This would be the least generous wage increase offered by the Couillard government to public service employees. In 2015, the Common Front of the Civil Service earned 9.15%.

 

Pierre Moreau argues that the special law "was not our first choice". "And that's why, beyond going back to work, the bill, rather than directly fixing working conditions, leaves room for negotiated agreement," he says.

 

TENSE RELATIONSHIPS FOR RETURN TO WORK

 

Government lawyers were scalded by these four months of strike and special law. "Do you think they'll be happy? Absolutely not! ", Launched the president of LANEQ, Jean Denis, in anticipation of their return to work Wednesday.

 

Despite the growls, Pierre Moreau expects a return without a hitch. "The people targeted by the law are lawyers who are respectful of their ethical obligations," said the minister, while acknowledging that it will not be "gleefully".

 

http://www.journaldequebec.com/2017/02/28/greve-des-juristes--la-loi-speciale-est-adoptee