Sat. Dec 9th, 2023

A week which will be marked by three strikes in Quebec

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The first day of the Common Front strike took place on November 6. (Archive photo)

The Canadian Press

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The week promises to be tumultuous in public services in Quebec, as three strikes will take place at different times, but they will all overlap on Thursday.

First the common front, which is made up of the CSN, the APTS, the CSQ and the FTQ, and which represents 420,000 members, will get the ball rolling with its walkout which will take place on November 21, 22 and 23. It will affect health, social service, school and college establishments.

Then the Interprofessional Health Federation (FIQ), which has 80,000 nurses and other healthcare professionals, will in turn walk off the job on November 23 and 24.

And from Thursday 23, it is the 66,000 teachers of the Autonomous Education Federation (FAE) who will begin a general strike unlimited.

More trading days have been added to the calendar this week; negotiation committees will therefore discuss during the strike exercise.

We had said that if there was no settlement before the 21st, we would be on strike. It is clear that there will be no settlement before the 21st. What we are saying is that we are ready to negotiate for seven days week, there. We want a settlement, said François Enault, vice-president of the CSN, in an interview.

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François Enault, vice-president of the CSN. (Archive photo)

Last Friday, Prime Minister François Legault assured of his goodwill and eagerness to renew the collective agreements which concern some 600,000 state employees. I hope that we resolve this in the coming days and that there is no strike next week, he said.

But these three strikes will be difficult to avoid, given the meager progress at the tables.

The government did not avoid the first short strike sequence. He did not avoid the second strike sequence. I hope he will understand that he should try to work to avoid the third strike sequence, said Mr. Enault, of the CSN.

The common front strike mandate is one of unlimited general strike which would be preceded by strike sequences. The next sequence could therefore last a few more days or become unlimited.

Currently, the mandate we have, yes it could be an unlimited general strike somewhere in December, if things do not move forward. But we continue. The only thing on which we agree with the government is that we want a regulation for the Holidays.

A quote from François Enault, vice-president of the CSN< /blockquote>Open in full screen mode

The 420,000 Common Front workers will be on strike Monday morning to put pressure on Quebec.

Among other things, the common front represents the majority of primary and secondary teachers in Quebec, through the CSQ. In health establishments, he also represents beneficiary attendants through the CSN and the FTQ.

And he also represents technicians and professionals in health and social services through the APTS. It also represents tens of thousands of support employees, both in the education and health sectors.

In a video posted on social media, Treasury Board President Sonia LeBel called on unions for more flexibility.

She recalled that Quebec had already submitted four offers, the most recent amounting to eight billion dollars. And I have no counter-offer, they offer me nothing in return, she lamented, stressing that her government had agreed to historic salary increases.

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Sonia LeBel is president of the Treasury Board of the government of Quebec. (File photo)

The minister recognizes that the salary issue is important, but calls on union members to be more flexible in their demands.

If we only give salary increases, the daily life of the teacher who finds his class too difficult will not be changed, a argued Ms. LeBel. That of the nurse who has to work compulsory overtime at the last minute and who has to reorganize her fault and her life will not be changed.

We have the chance to improve working conditions and services to the population, continued the elected official. We cannot miss our chance, we must seize the opportunity.

An outing that stung the unions. [Four] proposals that are contemptuous of healthcare professionals and irresponsible for the safety of healthcare, published the FIQ on X. Ms. LeBel, it is not the number of offers that counts, but what ;they contain. There are limits!

The CSN also reacted on X, reminding the President of the Treasury Board that in addition to nurses, teachers and beneficiary attendants , there are more than 300 other job titles that keep public services running!

Proposals, signals, we gave a lot to the table. It's not because we didn't spread it on social media that it wasn't done.

A quote from Confédération des syndicats nationaux

The Centrale des syndicats du Québec wanted to correct the facts put forward by Ms. LeBel. New union submissions were made at all sectoral tables to talk about working conditions. But the [government] doesn't even want to discuss it.

The branch representing Montreal, Laval and Montérégie of the Quebec Public and Parapublic Service Union, for its part, underlined that the eight billion dollars offered by the government is spread over five years and distributed to more than 760,000 employees. Which represents for some an increase of a little more than $35 per week on their paycheck […] Everything is relative.

The Alliance of Montreal Professors also responded to Ms. LeBel's video on filed in October 2022 and since then, detailed many times.

She agrees, however, that beyond salary increases, classroom conditions will have to be reviewed to attract and retain teachers.


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