The Interprofessional Health Federation of Quebec (FIQ) and the government are continuing their negotiations, but the parties do not agree, among other things, on the questions of flexibility and recognition of seniority of private sector nurses who have worked in the public network and wanting to return there.
The union, which represents nurses in particular, says it does not plan new strike sequences or an unlimited general strike.
The “media truce” having been lifted, the president of the FIQ, Julie Bouchard, took stock of the state of the negotiations during interviews with the media, including The duty. According to her, certain “very important” issues remain in dispute, including the flexibility requested by the government.
Mandatory or voluntary travel?
The FIQ maintains that Quebec wants to impose the compulsory movement of healthcare professionals from a center of activity — hospital, CHSLD, etc. – to the other. The government claims that these trips would be carried out on a voluntary basis. “What is extremely disturbing is that currently in each collective agreement, the employer has this possibility, always on a voluntary basis,” she said.
Julie Bouchard specifies that the “vast majority” of local collective agreements include an article which provides for travel bans, except in cases of force majeure or exceptional situations, but which indicates this: “This article is not intended to prevent an employee from volunteering for a trip. »
“It’s not even enforced, so why put so much emphasis on something he wants to make mandatory? » she asks. “For us, it’s impossible to go down this path. It takes training to change centers of activity. »
Other points in dispute, according to the FIQ: recognition of the seniority of nurses working in the private sector and wanting to return to the public network and the ratio of patients per professional.
“It’s a battle that we’ve been waging for more than ten years,” says Julie Bouchard. For the moment, the government still has this closure. These ratios will create attraction in the network, but also ensure that quality and safe care is provided to the population. »
The FIQ affirms that the conciliator is “very valuable help” in these negotiations. “We are in no hurry to reach this agreement in principle,” she said. Yes, the salary side is important. But the working conditions side is just as important. »
Julie Bouchard assures that no other strike sequence is currently in the cards for her union, nor even an unlimited general strike. “We’re not there yet. We don’t see the point in moving forward with this. »