Already largely complicated by a significant lack of personnel, the operation of Quebec courthouses could be turned upside down by the recent decision of special constables to no longer take charge of incarcerated persons, a task that is usually the responsibility of detention officers and for which they say they don't get paid.
Dissatisfied with their negotiations with the employer, the union of special constables announced that it had asked its members to no longer deal with incarcerations as of this Thursday.
“We are not compensated or adequately equipped to do this work which is the responsibility of detention. As long as we are at an impasse, we will work according to the salary offered to us, that is to say, that of before the capture of incarcerated individuals and that of before the pandemic, ”writes the union to explain its decision.
Since the pandemic
Since the spring of 2020, the constables were mainly responsible for the care of the defendants who arrived free at the courthouse and who were sentenced there to a term of imprisonment. This measure was put in place when a reduced number of correctional officers, also hit by a lack of staff, was available to travel to the various courthouses in the province.
The union of constables specifies that this measure will be applied until further notice and invites its members to remain firm on its application.
"If a manager or a judge insists that you take charge of an inmate, politely reply that you refuse since it is a union order and then ask for a relief to contact a member of the Executive Committee for the 'inform of the situation', asks the union executive, specifying that its lawyers were 'ready for any eventuality'.
This decision follows the last salary offer received from the Treasury Board, which proposes a salary increase of 6% over three years, accompanied by lump sums.
“This salary offer testifies to a denial of the reality of the shortage of personnel and the lack of succession for our employment body. Government jobs are not excluded from the principle of supply and demand and the reality of the labor market,” defends the union, calling the offer “as ridiculous as it is unacceptable.”
After this 32nd discussion session, the union of special constables announces that it has left the table and suspended negotiations. Other means of pressure could be applied shortly, the executive ensuring that he “will never accept an offer lower than the other corps of peace officers of the Ministry of Public Security”.
"If necessary, even more coercive measures will be taken by your union."