FIQ (Fédération Interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec)

Distress is not an excuse for demagoguery

The agreement concluded with the Government for the renewal of our collective agreement, as well as the trend the interventions of the various players in these negotiations took in public remind me just to what point we were right in adopting the only negotiating strategy which would truly allow us to fully defend our members: to be present at the bargaining table and be entirely devoted to the employees in class 1.

Regardless of what the other labour organizations try to say, this agreement has been skillfully negotiated and contains real gains for the healthcare professionals. But some do not share this opinion. At least, that is what we are learning by reading the newspapers these days.

JI can understand their reactions. How to sell an agreement to their members that does not reflect their own objectives is not obvious and it is difficult to take credit for it. Furthermore, the recent message from the president of the Treasury Board does not leave much room for the possibility of getting out of these negotiations with something more to offer to their members.

However, all the distress cannot reasonably excuse the demagoguery and the bad faith which certain labour partners are now trying to find in this quagmire. Again recently, they accused the FIQ of causing a setback for women, referring to the prerequisite in the agreement that the workers abandon their complaints filed under pay equity, and alleging that equity is not something that is negotiated. So, is it necessary to remind them that in this file, all the labour organizations gave their approval to participate in the conciliation process, and therefore to negotiate?

And that is exactly what the FIQ obtained: a negotiated agreement which constitutes an out-of-court settlement, nothing more, nothing less. What’s more, a settlement which seems to us to be clearly more beneficial than to take the complaints before the courts, with all the uncertainty that this brings, as to the delay (5 to 10 years) and the results hoped for (nothing guaranteeing a retroactivity in the context of the process of handling the complaints). In a similar context, and when we know that the money of our members is sitting in the Government’s coffers since before 2010, it is all the more deplorable to see that they want to play the lottery with the money of their own members in this way.

And, was it necessary to imply that the FIQ had sacrificed the nurse clinicians by not obtaining any change in ranking for them? That is also a dishonest statement. In fact, the sworn opponents of the agreement would be wise to remember that in reality, the nurse clinicians have already had a change in ranking in 2007, and that this agreement is only rectifying the situation for those who did not have one.

For the FIQ, this agreement is a good agreement. The Federal Council delegates have backed it by a large majority and are recommending this to their members.

Therefore, it will be on February 4 that the members of the FIQ will be asked to decide in a referendum vote. Until then, you can read the consultation documentand find out the date of the consultation assemblies on this topic from your local team.