OTTAWA, Nov. 17 /CNW Telbec/ - Workers at the Canadian Museum of Civilization and War Museum have been on strike for 58 days - almost a week longer than last year's OC Transpo strike. After eight weeks of picketing, letter-writing, lobbying and protesting outside politicians' offices, there are still no negotiations taking place between the parties.
"We have worked hard to build and maintain these institutions," says Daniel Poulin, a museum guide and the President of PSAC Local 70396. "The Museum of Civilization and War Museum are two of the most prestigious and important cultural institutions in this country. It's shameful that the museums' management has decided to act so irresponsibly. What's more, the government has done nothing concrete to bring our dispute to a resolution."
Employees at the two museums have been on strike since September 21, 2009. The 420 workers voted 92 per cent in favour of a strike at the end of August and talks first hit a standstill on September 18. Negotiations resumed briefly on October 7, but broke off after the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation refused to agree to protections against the contracting out of the workers' jobs.
"It is time that the government took some responsibility for the situation," says Maria Fitzpatrick, PSAC Regional Executive Vice-President for the National Capital Region. "Both the OC Transpo strike and the Toronto municipal strike were resolved after 51 days. Are the museums and the government aiming to match the 84-day strike at York University? Just how long are they prepared to leave Canadians without the important services provided by these workers?"
On November 6th, a group of museum workers occupied the office of Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Member of Parliament responsible for the Outaouais region.
On November 5th, the workers protested on Parliament Hill, surrounded by hundreds of supporters and eliciting words of support from both Jack Layton, leader of the NDP and Gilles Duceppe, leader of the Bloc Québécois. Since then, they have been picketing daily in front of Parliament Hill, the Prime Minister's Office and Heritage Minister James Moore's office in the Confederation Building.
Poulin says the protests will continue until the parties' dispute is resolved.
For further information: For further information: Ariel Troster, PSAC Communications - (613) 292-8363