On April 2 a spontaneous demonstration was held in Montreal with approximately 300 people in front of Bombardier’s head offices denouncing the obscene salaries of their executives. La Riposte socialiste, the organization of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT) in Quebec, participated in the demonstration and interviewed Michel Millette, a Bombardier worker and disappointed citizen who insisted that we make this clear!
La Riposte socialiste (LRS): How have you reacted to the announcement about the bonuses of the Bombardier CEOs?
Michel Millette (MM): It makes no sense! They will cut 14,000 jobs by 2018. The workers have tightened their belts for three years. We only got a 0.5 per cent increase over three years! And they vote for a 48 per cent increase of their bonuses, and even more for some. That’s the reality!
LRS: There has been talk about how thousands of workers at Bombardier want to unionize. What do you think about that?
MM: This is the office staff who are not presently unionized. They have been victims of cuts and they do not have the same conditions as the other workers. They can put pressure on the management, they want to be respected! There has been a turn to the right with the government and we are disappointed with that.
LRS: After the demonstration today, what is the next step?
MM: We don’t know, it’s not up to me to decide that! Pierre Beaudoin has already reacted. He has attended 11 four-hour meetings this year for $2,800,000! Everyone has been tightening the belt, there have been layoffs. This moment was poorly chosen to vote for obscene increases. In addition, they have taken public money. It takes some nerve to do that! The CSeries has to sell 300 before it is profitable, it’s going to take a while before this is done and it’s not like this with the other models.
I would feel bad asking for 48 per cent in a year. I wonder what they would say! We are asking for 16 per cent over three years and I don’t know what they will say!
I am disappointed that no one from the Bombardier trade unions came to the demonstration. It is disappointing for trade union solidarity.
LRS: How can we defeat the Liberals?
MM: You start by voting! We need to be conscious. People are tired of the old parties. We need something new, we need new ideas, for me, maybe Québec solidaire. We need to ask ourselves what kind of society we want, even if it’s just laws to prevent these arrogant people from doing stuff like this.
LRS: Thank you very much!
The latest developments in the Bombardier saga reflect the ongoing crisis of the capitalist system. While the workers have been suffering through austerity, job losses have been increasing and the Bombardier executives have been filling their pockets while receiving generous government bailouts. More and more workers are realizing that the bosses and the state do not serve their interests. Faced with repeated attacks from the capitalists, it is important to work towards building an alternative and as Michel Millette said, “We need to ask ourselves what kind of society we want.” La Riposte socialiste fights for socialism, a society in which we nationalize big companies like Bombardier and place them under workers’ democratic control so that we can put an end to this parasitic situation and defeat the bosses.