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(en) Strike! August issue - Quebec Hotel Workers Mobilize and Win! Unity Makes Strength

Date Fri, 19 Aug 2005 07:22:52 +0300


MONTREAL - The first weeks of July were a time of intense mobilization for
some 4000 hotel workers in Montreal. On Friday July 8th , 3200 workers went
on a 24h general strike and a mass rally of over 1000 supporters was held.
MONTREAL - The first weeks of July were a time of intense mobilization for some
4000 hotel workers in Montreal. On Friday July 8th , 3200 workers went on a 24h
general strike and a mass rally of over 1000 supporters was held. Another 400
more workers were planning to join the strike called by the Confederation des
syndicats nationaux, but a very last-minute tentative agreement was reached at
the Sheraton. Clearly, not all bosses were of the same mood since the Omni
management moved to lock out the workers (who retaliated with a 98% strike vote).

On Tuesday July 12th , a mass meeting of some 1500 union members backed
the (unprecedented) vote for an unlimited general strike to start 3 days
later if no deals were reached. But in the end, only the workers at the
Plaza Metro Center struck, to kickstart stalled negotiations. All other
hotels agreed on the tentative deal made at the Sheraton(with some minor
differences).

The tentative agreement for which workers fought has a number of interesting
features. First off, it means decent wage increases (11% over 3 years) but
even more interestingly, the workers managed to abolish the ‘wage ladder’.
That is, after 30 days, every one working the same job gets the same pay.
This is a good idea that runs against the whole logic of the ‘labor market’
and promotes equality among workers.

The CSN unions in the hotel industry are living proof that it is possible
to organise in the service industry and to seriously improve working
conditions through coordinated action. Unfortunately, the wisdom of the
hotel workers -that unity makes strength - not yet shared widely across
other sectors. Still, there’s some fighting inspiration here to offer to
the majority of private sector workers who are not yet part of the “Labor
Movement”.

[A more detailed version of this article is available on the web at
http://www.nefac.net]

by Nicolas Phébus - Collectif La Nuit (NEFAC) Sunday, Aug 14 2005, 8:28pm
nefacquebec@yahoo.ca address: a/s Groupe Émile-Henry, C.P. 55051, 138
St-Vallier Ouest, Québec (Qc), G1K 1J0

--------------------------
This article is from the August issue of Strike! - A newsletter of
anarchist news and commentary published in Ontario, Canada.
To download a pdf file of the newsletter go to:
http://users.resist.ca/~gidget/nefac/strike/aug_strike1.PDF

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