Quebec asphalt producers warn of massive layoffs

Bitume Quebec is warning of “mass layoffs” by dozens of asphalt companies if an ongoing labor dispute between Quebec’s 1,800 government engineers and the provincial government is not resolved in coming days.

Tytus Zurawski, president of the organization, referred to the 2022/23 road maintenance season as “paralyzed”, and said in a press release that businesses have been stretched beyond a breaking point.

Quebec asphalt workers
(Photo: CNW Group/Bitume Québec)

“This wave of layoffs would make it impossible to return to normalcy quickly, even after this dispute is resolved,” he added.

Quebec’s government engineers have initiated their third strike this spring, after the Association professionnelle des ingénieurs du gouvernement du Québec (APIGQ) failed to reach an agreement with the government Monday night. The first strike began April 22, and the second was on June 1.

Treasury Board President Sonia LeBel said last week that government representatives were making their 10th offer to the engineering union.

The Quebec Ministry of Transportation maintains 31,091 km of highways and roads within the province’s broader 61,468 km road network.

Bitume Quebec says the province’s road network has been improving in recent years, citing a 2020 International Roughness Index reading that says 76.9% of the province’s road network has pavement in good condition.

-With files from the Canadian Press

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  • For a province plagued with rough roads and crooked contracts, you’d think Quebec would leap at the chance to stay on top of the progress it has made in recent years.