Legal aid lawyers in Montreal and Laval renew their strike mandate

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Legal aid lawyers in Montreal and Laval renew their strike mandate

Legal aid lawyers are calling for pay parity with criminal and penal prosecuting attorneys (Archives).

As soon as their holiday strike ended, legal aid lawyers in Montreal and Laval voted almost unanimously in favor of a new strike mandate, which could be used “at any time”.

The Union of Legal Aid Lawyers of Montreal and Laval, affiliated with the CSN, announced that 97% of its members present at the general meeting voted in favor of ten additional days of strike action.

These lawyers have just walked off the job for five days, from December 23 to 27, to denounce the position of the Government of Quebec, which refuses to renew the terms and conditions ensuring pay parity between lawyers of the; legal aid and their Crown colleagues, according to the union.

In a statement, the union also deplored the way services were organized during the strike in recent days.

We were shocked to learn that no member of the management of the Community Legal Center of Montreal and Laval (CCJM) volunteered to respond to telephone and video call on-call services, while the Center was responsible for all of Quebec during the holiday break, said union president Me Justine Lambert-Boulianne.

“This situation has led to significant service disruptions. »

— Me Justine Lambert-Boulianne, president of the union

According to the union, several lawyers have been threatened by the CCJM with disciplinary sanctions if they do not show up not available based on established holiday schedules.

The main point in dispute in the negotiations is the principle of pay equity with Crown prosecutors. Legal aid lawyers want the same wage increases as their colleagues, but the government would stick to its offer with smaller increases, from the union's point of view.

Over the past few months, members of the legal aid lawyers' unions affiliated with the CSN have walked off the job a few times. Their collective agreement expired on December 31, 2019.

“Our justice system is cracking everywhere, in large part due to bad working conditions of its main stakeholders. »

— Me Justine Lambert-Boulianne, president of the union

By denying pay equity to legal aid lawyers, the government is directly questioning the principle of fairness between prosecution and defense within the public fold itself – while the management of the CCJM and the Commission des services juridiques, unable to ensure respect for the basic rights of citizens for five days, are threatening their lawyers with disciplinary sanctions, added Me Lambert-Boulianne.

The Union of Legal Aid Lawyers of Montreal and Laval-CSN represents approximately 125 members.

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