Shameful Anti-Worker Actions of the Quebec Government

By publicly taking stands in favour of the Alcoa/Rio Tinto cartel during the 18-month unjust lockout of ABI smelter workers, the Quebec government covered itself with shame. The government considered it more important to serve the global cartel than to defend Quebec workers and their communities and society. The government could have intervened at any time to establish equilibrium in the relations between the unionized workers and the global cartel, one that respects the workers' rights and the well-being and rights of all in Quebec. Instead, the government allowed the global cartel to unleash the full power of its social wealth and international productive and distribution capacity to attack the workers with its refusal to negotiate, arrogant final offers and threats to close the smelter.

The Quebec government distorted the issues in the conflict making wages a point of contention, which they were not, while covering up the anti-worker concessionary demands of the cartel that would lower the standard of living and working in Quebec. The government used its power of control over the media to publicly denounce the workers' resistance as unreasonable and put pressure on them to accept Alcoa's concessionary demands.

The Quebec government authorized Alcoa's self-serving misappropriation of $400 million from Hydro-Québec. The government declared that the lockout was a force majeure, an "unforeseeable, irresistible event beyond the control of a Party," which was Alcoa in this case of the unjust lockout. On the contrary, the lockout was premeditated and planned as a weapon to force workers to accept concessions. The government agreement with the lockout as a force majeure, as something not planned and controlled by the cartel, released the company from its obligation to pay for the block of energy reserved for it at preferential rates.

Everyone knew that the lockout was not "unforeseeable, irresistible" or beyond Alcoa's control. It was a planned and consciously executed move by the global cartel to attack the Quebec working class. The actions and in this case inaction of the Quebec government directly contributed to the launching and continuation of the lockout for 18 months. This so-called nationalist government helped to impose an unjust lockout by a foreign cartel on its own workers, and made Quebecers pay for the lockout through an enormous loss of revenue for Hydro-Québec.

The resistance of the ABI workers and the support of their allies have put the shameful activity of the Quebec government up for discussion to find ways to hold it to account and counterattack its anti-worker anti-social politics. The actions of the Quebec government expose the real nature of its call to make Quebec "open for business" as one that serves the rich global oligarchs in their drive to transfer yet more social wealth out of Quebec in an unjust atmosphere of disequilibrium.

(Photos: WF, Metallos)

This article was published in

Number 25 - July 18, 2019

Article Link:
Shameful Anti-Worker Actions of the Quebec Government


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