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Léger Marketing poll on negotiations with public sector unions: Only 10% of Quebecers support the union demands

Montreal, March 19, 2010 – With under two weeks to go before the expiry of collective agreements in the public sector, the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) has issued results of a Léger Marketing poll seeking Quebecers’ views on certain aspects of the negotiations taking place between the government and the Common Front of of public sector unions.

A key observation is that only 10% of respondents support the Common Front salary demands, whereas 73% believe the Quebec government should require that salary increases granted to government employees be linked to productivity gains and to an overall reduction in the government’s operating costs.

The poll also indicates that the big demonstration planned for March 20 by the Common Front of public sector unions has weak support, with just 19% of Quebecers in favour of it. More than one-quarter of respondents say they view this demonstration very unfavourably.

In more general terms, Quebecers seem open to changes in how work is organized in the public administration. Six out of 10 want the principle of job security in the public service to be re-examined – either abolished (21%) or limited in length (38%).

MEI vice-president Jasmin Guénette sees in these results a sign that people in Quebec are worried by the state of public finances and the fiscal burden. “Taxpayers are simply not ready to see their taxes go up to give government employees higher salaries,” he stated. “They want any increases to be linked to productivity gains and lower operating costs.”

The poll, conducted between February 22 and 24, 2010, among a representative sample of 1,000 people, is estimated to be accurate within three percentage points 19 times out of 20. It may be consulted on our website.

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The Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit research and educational organization. Through studies and conferences, the MEI informs public debates in Quebec and Canada by suggesting wealth-generating reforms based on market mechanisms.

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Information and interview requests: Ariane Gauthier, communications coordinator, Montreal Economic Institute, Tel.: 514 273-0969 ext. 2231 / Cell: 514 603-8746 / E-mail: agauthier (@iedm.org)

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