FIQ (Fédération Interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec)

Our voice is heard, and so is yours!

Many of our members were delighted with the settlement of the pay equity
issue, while others were disappointed and had many questions. Indeed,
nurse clinicians, for who there was no salary adjustment since their salary
had been adjusted in April 2000, clearly expressed their discontent.

Thus, certain questions were raised, including the question of the adjustment
of Cegep-trained nurses’ salary scales. Unfortunately, this adjustment
has had a perverse effect, affecting directly nurse clinicians and resulting
in the fact that, in the first echelons, the remuneration of nurses with
university training is lower than that of nurses with Cegep-level training.

The FIQ understands and supports nurse clinicians in their demands to
have their work and training recognized by adequate remuneration. We are
aware of the impact which this situation can have on the attraction to
the profession, motivation and recognition at work, as well as on the
will of nurses to undertake university studies.

To this end, the Federation intends to quickly set up the committee provided
for in Letter of Understanding No 3 of the decree in lieu of a collective
agreement regarding the classification of certain nurses. It stipulates
that the position of nurse clinician could be the object of a new evaluation.
Thus, we will be able to uphold and win recognition, in this forum and
later at the stage of the maintenance of equity, for all the roles and
responsibilities which are incumbent on nurse clinicians.

Be assured that the FIQ is intent on putting all the efforts necessary
to ensure that the voice of nurse clinicians is heard and understood.

On a completely different subject, the International Labour Office (ILO)
found in favour of the Federation who lodged a complaint, in March 2006,
against the Quebec government following the imposition of the decree by
the Charest government in December 2005.

The FIQ and the other organizations argued that the government had passed
a law imposing conditions of employment on workers in the Quebec public
service, education, and health and social services networks, without prior
bargaining or consultation, thus violating their fundamental right to
bargain collectively and taking away their right to strike without providing
an alternative procedure for the settlement of disputes, such as mediation,
conciliation or arbitration.

Several questions were raised regarding irregularities in the procedure
for the adoption of this law, the renewal of the collective agreements,
the imposition of working conditions, the violation of the obligation
to negotiate in good faith, the violation of the right to strike and the
presence of disproportionate sanctions in the case of non-respect of the
provisions prohibiting recourse to strike action or pressure tactics.

The FIQ is highly satisfied with the conclusions of the Committee
on Freedom of Association
which acknowledge, in particular, that
the deliberations surrounding the adoption of Law 43 (Bill 142) were
not democratic, with no parliamentary commission or public consultation,
the whole process being rushed through a special session of the National
Assembly when there was no apparent emergency. Certain amendments were
even added after the law had been ratified.

The Committee also recalls, in general, that the right to bargain freely
with employers with respect to conditions of employment constitutes an
essential element in freedom of association. Thus, trade unions should
have the right, through collective bargaining or other lawful means, to
seek to improve the living and working conditions of those whom the trade
unions represent. The public authorities should refrain from any interference
which would restrict this right or impede the lawful exercise thereof.

The Committee notes the allegations that the extension of the collective
agreements to
2010 is of an excessive duration, requests the Government to
review the restriction on the salary increase with the social
partners, if possible requesting a study by an independent person who
has the confidence of all the parties.

The Committee recalls that it has always maintained that the right to
strike is one of the essential means through which workers and their organizations
may promote and defend their economic and social interests. The Committee
added that the imposition of penalties in the case of strike action is
not conducive to the development of harmonious professional relations.

Finally, the Committee urges the Government to amend Law 43 and to avoid,
in the
future, having recourse to such legislative intervention without
full and frank consultations with the parties concerned.

Once again, we can say: the FIQ, a strong voice, action that counts.

In closing, we would invite you to send a message to your deputy
to ask him to intervene to urge the government to comply, as soon as possible,
with the ILO recommendations. You can use a model
message
.

In Solidarity ,