Quebec construction strike: Premier promises back to work legislation next week

Construction

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard says he will begin the process of adopting back-to-work legislation Monday if there is no agreement in the province's construction strike.

Couillard told reporters in Jerusalem on Thursday he's giving the sides the weekend to hammer out a deal.

"I have asked that the government take measures to be ready to act Monday," he said.

He did not want to say whether he will call back the legislature on Monday or whether the process would begin that day for the law to be tabled Tuesday.

"We won't allow the economy to be bled $45 million a day," he said, referring to the amount the strike is estimated to cost the province daily.

Word of legislation came as various marches took place across Quebec in support of the strike as it entered Day 2.

About 175,000 workers launched the unlimited general strike on Wednesday, crippling activity on major projects such as the Champlain Bridge and a Montreal superhospital.

It was not clear whether the two sides would resume negotiations Thursday after Labour Minister Dominique Vien asked them to give her a schedule of new meetings.

Work schedules, overtime and salaries are some of the main stumbling blocks in the negotiations.