Sun. Mar 3rd, 2024

Agreement in principle without regional disparity: “the missing piece”, according to a union

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The Common Front is giving itself one month to present to its 420,000 members the agreement in principle negotiated with Quebec. (Archive photo)


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The agreement in principle between the Common Front and the Quebec government does not provide for anything regarding regional disparities. Union members from the Outaouais would have liked incentives to slow down staff departures to Ontario or the federal public service.

This agreement, including the highlight is a salary increase of 17.4% over five years, affecting 420,000 education and health workers, including more than 17,000 in Outaouais.

The Outaouais School Professional Staff Union agreed that there has been no movement [regarding] regional disparities.

The government remained closed to this. We would have liked to have made gains, but that was not the case, admitted the president of the union, Annie St-Pierre.

Despite the disappointment, she is still satisfied with the agreement as a whole and the achievements that have been made.

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There is also a bonus renewal for school psychologists. There was a salary increase, […] and there will be a bonus for full-time psychologists in schools. They are important and they are few in number. We hope to keep them, she said.

The other interesting gain is an improvement in the holidays. Members will have access to vacation days more quickly, she added, speaking in particular of reaching the full fifth week of vacation from 19 years of seniority instead of 25 years.

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Annie St-Pierre is the president of the Outaouais School Professional Staff Union. (Archive photo)

According to the president of the Hautes-Rivières Education Staff Union, Daniel Boisjoli, the missing piece is the absence of regional disparities.

We cover Pontiac, a geographically landlocked region. It would have been important to have a piece, agreed Mr. Boisjoli.

To use his words, no agreement in principle can be perfect. He still highlighted improvements in the retirement plan and the employer's contribution to group insurance for teaching staff.

On would have liked more enrichment. […] We have come a long way, if we compare to the 9% offer in December 2022.

In an interview with Radio-Canada on Sunday, the president of the Union of Teachers of the Cégep de l'Outaouais, Christian Bernier, was visibly happy with the agreement in principle, but did not hide the fact that the last months of negotiations have weighed heavily on the morale of the troops.

Like any negotiation, there are wins and losses. We always hope to get more, but often we get less. This negotiation was still special and historic in many aspects, he suggested.

At the beginning, we asked for a salary increase of 21 % over three years, and we obtained 17.4% over five years, he gave as an example.

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In addition to being president of the Teachers' Union of Cégep de l'Outaouais, Christian Bernier also teaches literature there. (Archive photo)

The president of the Quebec Federation of Workers (FTQ), Magali Picard, knows the Outaouais region well. I still live there! she clarified. She is therefore fully aware of the fact that members of the region would have liked regional disparity to be part of the agreement.

I understand the reactions, but I sincerely think that their opinion will change when they have a complete presentation [of the agreement in principle], said the president of the FTQ.

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The president of the FTQ, Magali Picard (Archive photo)

The Common Front said it at a press conference on Sunday: the members have the floor.

Assemblies will take place between January 15 and February 19 so that they can vote on this agreement.

With information from Anne-Charlotte Carignan

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