As public sector negotiations enter a crucial phase with the start of the school year, a summit meeting is scheduled for Monday between the FIQ, Premier François Legault and the President of the Treasury Board, Sonia LeBel.
The Canadian Press has obtained a copy of a letter that the president of the Interprofessional Health Federation, Julie Bouchard, sent to the presidents of her local unions to advise them. The president of the large union organization of nurses will attend, as well as members of the executive committee of the FIQ.
This meeting will take place at a time when pressure is intensifying in the public sector. Negotiations for the renewal of collective agreements have been underway for several months and the unions report little progress. Several unions are talking about holding meetings soon to give themselves a strike mandate.
The FIQ stands apart, because it is not part of the inter-union common front.
And the FIQ, which represents more than 80,000 nurses, licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists and clinical perfusionists, is particularly advanced in its action plan. At the start of the summer, the Administrative Labor Tribunal rendered dozens of decisions affecting the essential services to be maintained in the event of a strike by the FIQ. This does not mean that the FIQ will go on strike, but it is preparing its weapons, just in case.
And the pressure is mounting among the nurses. A few days ago, a group of nurses from the operating room at Fleurimont Hospital in Sherbrooke held a sit-in to protest against an announced change in on-call shifts. Everything was finally settled by an agreement between the parties, during a conciliation phase before the Administrative Labor Tribunal, but this episode demonstrates the fed up of the nurses, who can no longer bear their working conditions. work and lack of staff.
In her letter to her local union presidents, the president of the FIQ mentions the strike. “The negotiation of our collective agreement should quickly unblock this fall. As it was pending in June, we are prepared in the event that we have to exercise our right to strike. We will carry the demands of the healthcare professionals and it is up to Mr. Legault to mandate his team to move things forward at the negotiation table,” writes Julie Bouchard.
“Monday’s meeting will be a precious moment to open the dialogue and bring the voice of the 80,000 healthcare professionals we represent. You can be sure that I have the firm intention of recalling our priorities. Many challenges await us with the reform of the health network and the strong tangent of privatization of the network, with all the impacts that this will have for our members. We have always fought for access to free and universal public care and we are in the best position to tell the Prime Minister how to improve this network, ultimately for the well-being of the people of Quebec,” added Ms.me Bouchard.