Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Quebec prosecutors on strike

Quebec's government lawyers, including prosecutors, have walked off the job as of today. Apparently they are paid some 40% less than their counterparts in other provinces; what's particularly interesting, though, is that the government gave them the right to strike in 2003 in order to avoid having to give them binding arbitration instead; presumably arbitration would have forced the government to pay them properly beforehand and the government was gambling that they wouldn't have the nerve to actually walk out. Well, the government has lost its gamble. Amusingly, the radio coverage noted that if the government wanted to fix their mistake now, they'd be out of luck, because along with the prosecutors, the lawyers that would be needed to draft the legislation are themselves out on strike.

Unfortunately, when criminal cases get thrown out due to delay (as they no doubt will) the corporate media and the general public will likely lay the blame at the feet of the union, rather than the government where it clearly belongs. One can see an element of this in the Gazette's article on the issue; it makes no mention of arbitration as the reason they were given the right to strike in the first place.

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