Quebec Liberals to Toughen Anti-Scab Legislation?

In an article this weekend, the Montreal French-language daily, La Presse, reported that the provincial Liberal government is looking to amend the Quebec Labour Code in response to labour turmoil at the Journal de Montreal (another Quebec daily). In that dispute, the striking union argued that the Journal de Montreal’s management got around the anti-scab legislation by contracting out work to journalists working from home. The law, as it is currently written, does not prohibit this kind of technological circumvention as it generally only bars the use of employees from an employer’s establishments (with many nuances) while a strike is ongoing. According to La Presse, the Liberals are looking to change that in order to “restore” the balance of power in a labour dispute. Quebec is one of the only jurisdictions to have anti-scab legislation. Does strengthening it make sense?

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Comments

  1. Yes, strengthening it does make sense, for two reasons: it encourages good-faith bargaining, and it keeps the temperature of labour confrontations lower, encouraging settlement and reducing harmful externalities.

    In the days before it adopted anti-scab legislation, Quebec was plagued by violent strikes. Its comparative amount of violent disputes has fallen dramatically since then.