That’s it! The negotiations have officially begun. We have filed our draft collective agreement with the Québec Government. Although we announced the APTS-FIQ alliance demands on October 24, we made the final touches on Tuesday, October 29 by filing our sectoral demands, those affecting our working conditions.
We can say it, the next negotiations will in all likelihood be just like our last rounds of negotiation. Nothing will be easy! The government remains both prudent and rigid about its intentions of making a major move to straighten out the healthcare professionals’ working conditions and salary. Remember that this government has repeated ad nauseam that health was one of its priorities and wanted to improve the situation. Don’t they know that this improvement inevitably goes through the personnel who work in it? I have my doubts.
Let’s not be too alarmist and wait to see this government’s real colours at the bargaining table. One thing is sure, the politicians won’t be our only adversaries. The ink on our demands wasn’t even dry when there were already indignant cries from some people using sometimes crazy superlatives, sometimes a bit provocative to qualify our demands.
We will have detractors throughout these negotiations and they won’t only be from the government. We’ll be told that the government doesn’t have the capacity to pay, that we aren’t reasonable, are too greedy, and so on and so on! We’ve heard that recording for more than 15 years and we’ve had enough! Furthermore, it is always gratifying for the healthcare professionals to hear Tom, Dick, Harry say they are extraordinary and exceptional, but that recognition, they get it every day from their patients and their families. What they want is recognition of their fair value and have working conditions, including a salary, for the work they do. I can say with conviction, it’s not too much to ask!
Let’s stay above the fray of paternalistic attitudes directed at us like we aren’t able to know what is good for us. Don’t play our detractors’ game. They are basically looking for more provocation than dialogue and let’s make good use of our anger by using it to support our determination and mobilization. Because we are convinced of the validity of our demands, we will succeed. We are going into a major battle that goes well beyond the provisions of a collective agreement. In fact, there are those who still don’t understand, our only motivation is to improve the working conditions of our members to ensure quality, safe and accessible care and services for the population.