Magnificent Family March in Solidarity with Locked-Out ABI Workers
"The Alcoa/Rio Tinto/Quebec Government Dictate Must End!" Demonstrators Declare
On Saturday, May 25th, over 5,000 workers and their families marched in the streets of Trois-Rivières in support of the ABI aluminum smelter workers in Bécancour, who have been locked out for over 16 months by the Alcoa/Rio Tinto cartel, with the support of the Quebec government. They hailed from many of Quebec's regions, from as far away as Chibougamau in the North-of-Quebec administrative region and Fermont, in the North Shore. Steelworkers were also in attendance, with a contingent from the Toronto Area Council and another from Local 1005 in Hamilton, who since 2004 have been waging a relentless battle against the steel monopolies and the state, notably against bankruptcies organized to steal workers' pensions. Vidéotron workers, who were viciously locked out in the early 2000s by Québécor, were also in attendance, as were the Alma workers, who fought a six-month lockout decreed by Rio Tinto in 2012. The CEZinc workers, who held a 10-month strike in 2017 that successfully defended their pension plans against Glencore's demands for concessions, also came out, as did many others, including several public sector workers involved in education, health care, the civil service, etc. The march expressed huge support for the dignity of labour of not only ABI, but all, workers. It was also an expression of the immense respect that workers and communities have for the contribution ABI workers are making to that fight, which is recognized in several countries worldwide. The march also put forward the demand that the ABI workers must obtain a collective agreement acceptable to and respectful of them, and not one with unacceptable conditions dictated by Alcoa and the Quebec government.
Steelworkers' Local 9700 President Clément Masse, who represents the ABI workers, expressed that sentiment very well in his brief address: "Thank you everyone for being here. Thanks to the locked out workers and thanks to the families. It is a long conflict, a conflict that is difficult. On a day like this it feels good to see all these people who came to march regardless of the colour of their flag. It is also a message that is being sent to our employer and to our government. What I get from this day of action is the courage you have, after 16 months of conflict. Thank you for trusting me as your representative. I am proud to represent you. We are not giving up. We are going to go back in the plant with an agreement that will respect our workers."
Full Support for the ABI Workers Fighting For Us All!
(Photos: Chantier politique, Métallos)
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