May Day 2022: Quebec workers demand higher minimum wage increase

A thousand or so demonstrators took to the streets of Montreal Sunday to mark International Workers’ Day, demanding a minimum wage increase and better working conditions.

As in previous years, the event was organized by the May Day Coalition, a group of 15 unions and organizations.

“The minimum wage is now $14.25 an hour, and the Minister of Labor is looking forward to perhaps reaching $15 by 2023. This is indecent,” said coalition co-spokesperson Marie-Claude Tremblay, who said wages are not keeping up with inflation and rising cost of living.

In March, the Bank of Canada calculated the consumer price index at at 6.7 per cent, well above the target range of 1 to 3 per cent.

At the head of the pack were strikers from Rolls-Royce Canada, affiliated with the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN), and from the Molson-Coors plant in Longueuil, affiliated with the Teamsters union.

The Québec solidaire MP Ruba Ghazal was also present at the event, along with a contingent of her party.

Participants gathered at Cabot Square in downtown Montreal.

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the 1972 Common Front, when Quebec’s three major labor organizations of the day joined forces to negotiate collective agreements.

Last month, the CSN, the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ) and the Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ) announced the re-forming of the Common Front for the negotiation of 2023 collective agreements.

This report was first published in French by The Canadian Press on May 1, 2022.

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