Yesterday, the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ) agreed to start a round of accelerated negotiations with the government, to ensure the health and safety of the healthcare professionals at the heart of the coronavirus offensive.
“We have been saying since the crisis began: there have to be exceptional measures for an exceptional situation. The government is giving us the opportunity to negotiate these measures now and we accepted their invitation”, explained the president of the FIQ, Nancy Bédard.
Additional remuneration and safety measures
The FIQ is demanding additional remuneration for the 76,000 healthcare professionals they represent to compensate for the stress and potential risks from the virus. This remuneration must be retroactive to the declaration of a public health emergency and continue until March 31, 2021.
Moreover, an additional premium of 14% of the salary, like the critical care premium in the collective agreement, must be given to all healthcare professionals providing or likely to provide care to patients with COVID-19, for the entire length of the pandemic.
“Those who, for years, have been the backbone of the healthcare network, and are giving their best for the patients during this crisis, are not guardian angels; they are healthcare professionals. And, as such, they deserve a real acknowledgement of their contribution now. Thank yous are not enough,” explained Ms. Bédard.
Other demands linked to health and safety have also been given to the employer party, including:
- the immediate protective and safe reassignment of all pregnant women or employees with an immuno-compromised system or with a chronic illness, without a medical certificate;
- access to personal protective equipment for all employees in contact with users likely to have COVID-19;
- uniforms supplied and maintained by the employer on all departments likely to admit patients with COVID-19;
- free meals and parking;
- access to locker rooms and break rooms.
The FIQ and its affiliated unions are demanding to be informed on an ongoing basis of the changes in the network. The FIQ also wants to suspend some of the time limits ini the collective agreement for disputes and maintain a sufficient number of union leaves at the local level.