The city of Montreal may have to put up with its police officers wearing jeans and brightly coloured camouflaged pants as part of protests over pension reform, but it is fed up with officers not issuing enough tickets to jaywalkers, speeders and scofflaws.
The city sent a letter to the Montreal police brotherhood, telling the union it is on the hook for $12.8 million, the estimated value of tickets that have not been issued over the past several months.
The city notified La Fraternité des policiers et policières that it will file a grievance with the Quebec Labour Relations Board. It wants the tribunal to order the union to tell its members to issue tickets at the normal rate.
Brotherhood spokesperson Martin Desrochers denied that the union has told police officers to cut down on the number of tickets they issue. He said the union would contest the grievance vigorously.
“We never gave an order to reduce the number of tickets,” Desrochers told The Montreal Gazette on Monday. “In fact, we did the opposite. We reminded them they should work as normally as possible.”
In September, the city filed a complaint with the Quebec Labour Relations Board seeking to have police officers resume the normal amount of ticketing and alleged the slowdown was a pressure tactic to protest against proposed changes to their pension plans. But an agreement was reached between both sides during a conciliation hearing so the labour relations board was not required to issue a ruling.
However, seven weeks after the agreement, the city says the situation has not changed and the number of tickets issued continues to drop. The city says it has noticed a significant reduction in number of tickets issued between Sept. 22 and Nov. 2.
The police, firefighters and other public employees have been protesting against pension reform legislation that would see their pension contributions increase as part of a plan to reduce a $3.9-billion pension deficit.
Four commanding officers with the Montreal police department have been charged with disciplinary breaches for failing to stop the ransacking during a protest at Montreal city hall in August.
More than 100 municipal employees have been either fired or suspending for their part in the riot.
Bill 3 calls for an equal sharing of payments into municipal pension plans, which the government says are $3.9-billion in debt, and a 50-50 split of the costs of refinancing plans that are running a deficit.