rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Photo essay: Global day of action in Alma, Quebec

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

On March 31, 8,000 people -- including striking students, workers from across Quebec, and contingents from Toronto to South Africa -- converged in Alma, Quebec to support locked-out workers.

On New Year's Eve, Rio Tinto locked out 800 workers in Alma -- a town of 30,000 people, three hours north of Quebec City. The mining giant wants to contract out jobs so it can impose a 50 per cent wage cut. But Alma workers have launched a campaign that has gone global -- from California workers who had a successful strike against Rio Tinto, B.C. workers who have pledged $60,000 of their own wages, and Toronto Steelworkers who in early march took a bus 12 hours to the picket lines (for video footage, go here).

The solidarity for locked out workers is converging with the massive student strike. Alma workers have supported the Quebec student strike, and on March 31, students from Quebec (including the leadership of CLASSE, the group leading the group) joined the day of action in Alma.

There were also contingents of trade unions from across Quebec, buses of steelworkers from Hamilton and Toronto, and workers from Kentucky, Los Angeles, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Turkey, the Netherlands, and South Africa.

In the Arab Spring, the interaction between students and workers has been crucial: while students and youth groups were often the first in the streets in Tunisia and Egypt, it was mass strikes that finally drove out Ben Ali and Mubarak, and the revolutions have continued on campuses in workplaces with demonstrations, occupations and strikes. As Amir Khadir, one of the leaders of Quebec's left-wing electoral party Québec solidaire, has explained in this video interview, Quebec's "printemps érable" (which is translated as "maple spring" but in French sounds like "Arab spring") includes both students and workers. The mass student strike is giving confidence to broader movements, from Earth Day protests on April 22 to the labour movement. In the last two weeks of March, Aveos workers blockaded a road in Montreal after being laid off, Air Canada workers went on solidarity wildcat strike in Montreal and Quebec City, and then the mass demonstration converged in Alma.

Canada's 1 per cent rules by dividing, including divisions across Canada and Quebec, but there is growing solidarity. For more information on the campaign, including video footage of the March 31 demonstration, go here. To hear a song one of the locked out workers wrote, go here. So-so-so, solidarité!

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.