07/27/2014 10:08 EDT | Updated 09/26/2014 05:59 EDT

Denis Coderre says police union will pay for mass sick day tactic

The City of Montreal will bill Montreal’s police union for the overtime officers worked Saturday to replace 100 colleagues who simultaneously called in sick to protest pension reforms.

Mayor Denis Coderre called the protest action “irresponsible” and said the officers involved would lose a sick day as a result.

“You don’t play with the security of Montrealers,” Coderre told reporters yesterday.

It’s not clear how much the pressure tactic cost in overtime, but Coderre insisted that taxpayers will not foot the bill.

“For the supplementary work, it’s not the citizens who will pay for it. It will be the union,” he said.

The officers’ union, the Montreal Police Brotherhood, has denied encouraging its members to call in sick en masse.

The situation led the City of Montreal to request an emergency 2 a.m. meeting Saturday between the union and Quebec’s Labour Board.

The meeting ended with the Board ordering all officers back to work.

Officers and other municipal workers have been using pressure tactics in recent weeks as they protest proposed pension reform legislation.

The Quebec government has introduced legislation known as Bill 3 that would increase the share of pension contributions paid by municipal workers to 50 per cent.

A demonstration outside Montreal’s city hall on Friday saw police and firefighters throw their service shirts on the building’s steps.

Police officers and other municipal workers have also been wearing casual pants and red baseball hats as a symbol of protest against the pension reforms.