Vive Le Canada

Unions Charge- Charest Destroying Health Care
Date: Saturday, December 06 2003

canada news

Friday, Dec 05, 2003

Unions target riding offices in protests, hint at new tactics next week

QUEBEC (CP) - Quebec unions trashed the riding office of a Liberal member of the legislature Friday, capping a week of protest that involved vandalism.

Demonstrators pushed past staffers to spread garbage and shred documents in the office of Francine Gaudet in the central Quebec town of Louiseville.

They also posted stickers on the walls of Liberal offices in Trois-Rivieres and Grand-Mere.

The incident in Louiseville was similar to vandalism at two other Liberal offices earlier this week in Montreal and Gatineau. Union members also held a rowdy protest at a Montreal children's hospital this week.

No charges were laid, but the protests are a prelude to major demonstrations next week across Quebec that are expected to shut down a number of provincial services.

Michel Dupont, a regional head of the Quebec Federation of Labour, said the tactics are necessary to send a message to Premier Jean Charest.

"If we do nothing, the government will do nothing to change its policies," Dupont told RDI, Radio-Canada's all-news channel. "It's one of the few tactics at our disposal."

Upset health-sector unions held a news conference Friday to denounce a series of moves by Charest's government.

The Liberals have introduced legislation to merge some health-care operations and bargaining units, a move unions say will wreak havoc on seniority lists and force workers to abandon small, specialized unions.

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