Chantier Politique

March 4, 2016

English Edition, No. 6

Demonstrations Against Sexual Violence in Three Quebec Cities

Violence Against Women Concerns
Society as a Whole

Montreal Rally February 15

Demonstrations Against Sexual Violence in Three Quebec Cities
Violence Against Women Concerns Society as a Whole

Calendar of Events
Prepare for March 8, International Women's Day! 

Steelworkers Resist Attacks on Their Pension Plans
Steelworkers Unite in the Fight to Defend the Rights of All


Demonstrations Against Sexual Violence in Three Quebec Cities

Violence Against Women Concerns
Society as a Whole








Rally in Sherbrooke

On February 15, hundreds of women and their allies gathered in Sherbrooke, Montreal and Quebec City to demand an end to impunity towards sexual violence committed against women. For over a year, actions have been increasing across Quebec for the elimination of violence against women as well as for a public authority that takes up its social responsibility and guarantees the rights of all. On the eve of March 8th, International Women's Day, participants reiterated their stand that the struggle to end violence against women concerns all of society.

During the Montreal rally, speakers highlighted the many ways in which women and various organizations are working to provide services and find solutions to prevent violence against women and assist those who are its victims. They pointed out that even though the government denounces violence in words, it has not undertaken any concrete action demanded by women to end violence. Representatives of organizations working in defence of the most vulnerable, such as the DisAbled Women's Action Network - DAWN (Réseau d'action des femmes handicapées - RAFH), the Movement Against Rape and Incest (Mouvement contre le viol et l'inceste), the Non-status Action Committee (Comité d'action des personnes sans statut), the Quebec coalition of sexual assault centres (Regroupement québécois des Centres d'aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel - RQCALAC), Stella and le Collectif couleur explained that due to a lack in government funding, they are struggling to provide aid. Also highlighted were the difficulties faced by those who have been sexually abused in availing themselves of the justice system, in particular Indigenous women and those who are immigrants, refugees, disabled or living in poverty. As less than 10 percent of sexually-related crimes are reported to the police and only 3 out of 1000 complaints result in a conviction, clearly there is a serious problem that the society must resolve in order to to put an end to the impunity that exists with regard to violence committed against women.

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Calendar of Events


Prepare for March 8, International Women's Day!

Demonstration
"Celebrate Women's Resistance" 


Montreal
March 8

Rally 5:00 pm

Place du 6 décembre
(corner of Reine Marie and Côte-des-neiges) Metro Côte-des-neiges

Facebook

Quebec City
March 12
Rally 10:30 am

Pavillon Alphonse-Desjardins
(2325 rue de l'Université)
For information call: 418-622-2620


Click here here for complete list of actions in Quebec


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Steelworkers Resist Attacks on Their Pension Plans

Steelworkers Unite in the Fight to
Defend the Rights of All

Some eighty workers of steel distributor Samuel, Son & Co. in Laval went on strike on February 4, against company attempts to impose a downgraded defined-contribution pension plan on new hires.

The strike is part of the United Steelworkers' campaign against disparity in the treatment of workers, commonly referred to as orphan clauses. These clauses impose two-tiered conditions in pension and insurance benefits on workers doing the same job. Steelworkers are demanding the Quebec government pass a law to prohibit orphan clauses.

Workers from Lafarge Cement in Saint-Constant and Resco in the Outaouais, who waged a similar struggle against a two-tiered pension plan, joined the picket line on February 12 to express their solidarity in the fight to defend their rights. In a gesture displaying the unity and determination of the working class, the visiting workers handed over to the striking workers the Lafarge Cement workers' giant banner opposing orphan clauses.

Also on February 12, the 371 unionized workers at the CEZinc (Canadian Electrolytic Zinc) refinery in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield went on strike against the company's concession demands regarding pension plans and retirement rules. CEZinc is jointly owned by Noranda Income Fund and mining oligopoly Glencore.

CEZinc is demanding a series of concessions, which include the introduction of gradual contributions from workers to their pension plan, accompanied by a corresponding reduction on the part of the company, even though the plan is fully solvent and overfunded at 114 percent. The company also wants to postpone the age of early retirement from 58 to 60 years old. Employees in the plant work with toxic products that have a serious impact on their health and life expectancy, therefore being able to retire early is important to them.

Workers estimate that all the concessions CEZinc is demanding amount to a loss in annual revenues of between $8,000 and $10,000 for workers with the most seniority.

Workers are saying no to the demand for concessions as it represents a deterioration in their working and living conditions. Concessions begin a downward slide leading to other demands, especially on pensions at this time. They refuse to be considered as part of the "operating costs" of global mining oligopolies. Far from it -- it is they who guarantee production under very difficult conditions and they have a legitimate claim on the value that they produce.

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