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Gr&egrave ;ves : The PLQ wants Legault to get involved in negotiations | Strikes in the public sector in Quebec

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Thousands of striking public sector workers responded to the invitation of the Union Common Front in November. (Archive photo)

The Canadian Press

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Prime Minister François Legault must stop being a “commentator” and an “observer” in negotiations with public sector employees and must get personally involved, argues the official opposition in Quebec. However, several unions believe that such an intervention by the Prime Minister at this stage of the discussions would be “premature”.

Personally, I think it's better to have fewer people on the ice at the moment, illustrated the first vice-president of the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN), François Énault, when The Canadian Press told him asked if he would welcome an intervention by the Prime Minister in the talks, as requested by the Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ).

Sunday morning, the PLQ made a public outing to ask Mr. Legault to personally and directly communicate with union representatives in order to speed up things in the renewal of the various collective agreements.

It is the duty of the Quebec head of state, argued Mr. Tanguay.

The fundamental responsibility of the Prime Minister is to get involved directly and personally. He can no longer be an observer and commentator, he must be an actor, he argued.

Strikes in the public sector in Quebec

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Strikes in the public sector in Quebec

Consult the complete file


The word, the weight of the Prime Minister of Quebec has its full impact, and we are here. We're here.

The Liberal leader deplored the fact that the government has still not managed to come to an agreement with the unions which represent the approximately 600,000 state employees whose collective agreements expired last March .

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The interim leader of the PLQ, Marc Tanguay. (File photo)

Even though the unions had warned that the fall would be hot due to the gap between their demands and Quebec's offers, the government allowed the situation to drag on to the point where strikes are affecting today. x27;public services today, lamented Mr. Tanguay, who is now asking Mr. Legault to correct the situation.

If Prime Minister Legault changes his approach, he has all the means to change the dynamic, he mentioned.

Rather than telling the workers: “It's not okay for you to be on strike,” if he called them in and sat down with them, he could directly and personally have a dialogue, have communication, build a relationship of trust and be able, precisely, to bring them back. This is what we need.

Asked about their openness to the idea of ​​seeing such an intervention by the Prime Minister, the CSN, the CSQ and the APTS – which make up, with the FTQ, the Common Front in the current round of negotiations – all responded that it would be preferable if the government first gave more resources to its negotiators at the various negotiating tables.

Personalizing the debate will not move things forward. The right place to advance negotiations is at the tables, underlined the CSQ in a written statement.

Mr. Énault, of the CSN, added that an intervention by the Prime Minister in the negotiations usually occurs much later in the process, when the parties are close to an agreement, which is not not currently the case.

We would never refuse a meeting with Mr. Legault, on the contrary, but I think that currently, [it would] premature, he said. The dialogue is there, we have the same objective of having a settlement before the holidays and everyone is working on that.

In this sense, Mr. Énault noted that communication is still good with the President of the Treasury Board, Sonia LeBel, even if the holding of the various strikes could leave believe the opposite.

We don't get along, but there is communication, then the channel is there, he said said. I think that Ms. LeBel is currently doing what she has to do.

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The leaders of the Common Front (from left to right): François Énault (CSN), Robert Comeau (APTS), Magali Picard (FTQ) and Éric Gingras (CSQ).

After holding one- and three-day strikes in November, the Common Front announced it will walk out for seven days from December 8 to 14. This will be the last step in its pressure tactics before launching an indefinite general strike if an agreement is not reached.

Meanwhile, the Autonomous Federation of Education (FAE), which represents around 66,000 teachers, continues its indefinite general strike, while the Interprofessional Health Federation (FIQ), which represents 80,000 nurses, auxiliary nurses , respiratory therapists and clinical perfusionists, will be on strike from December 11 to 14.

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The Autonomous Federation of Education (FAE), which represents some 66,500 teachers, filed a counter-offer to the government on Saturday.

Quebec said it was ready to improve its latest salary offer, which it presented as being worth 14.8% over five years on average by including a sum of $1,000 in the first year and differentiated offers, provided that the unions agree to give it more flexibility in the organization of work.

Without suggesting that the next Common Front strike could be avoided , Mr. Énault assured that serious conversations are still underway.

We have sectoral tables which negotiated all weekend. At the central table, we start again on Wednesday, given the constraints of meeting our people to give them reports on where we are currently at, he underlined.

Afterwards, it is clear that it is fully available until the week of December 18, when we will meet again with our unions.

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