06/15/2013 06:07 EDT | Updated 08/15/2013 05:12 EDT

Construction strike looms after negotiation breakdown

Negotiations have broken down at the bargaining table between the association representing construction companies (ACQ) and the unions representing workers, meaning a strike planned for Monday could paralyze construction sites across the province.

According to the construction association, the unions representing industrial, institutional residential, and commercial construction workers have walked away from the negotiating table. The civil engineering and roads sectors are still in negotiation.

One of the groups representing home builders (APCHQ), issued a statement saying it believes the union alliance negotiated in bad faith, never intending to reach an agreement before the strike.

"The union alliance leaves the table and, once again, favours the use of pressure tactics at the expense of negotiating. We have reached agreements in principle on most monetary demands and there has been progress on wage issues. Why throw in the towel now? One can only conclude that this was the game plan of the alliance from the beginning, " said Eric Cherbaka, APCHQ spokesman, in the statement.

Spokesman for the union alliance, Yves Ouellet, says the unions walked away from the bargaining table today, but he is still hoping for an acceptable offer in order to avoid Monday's strike.

"If they decide to be serious and give us an offer we can accept, not something that we are going to go back 20 years. If they do that, for sure, nobody wants a strike," said Ouellet. "It’s sad, but it’s not over."

The union alliance says it rejects employer demands for a 14-hour work day and a six-day work week at regular wage rates. The construction association denies making these demands.

Among other requests, the union alliance is also asking for a three percent wage increase in the first year and 2.75% for the next two years. Ouellet says the construction association has only offered a one percent increase in the first year.