Meeting virtually in a Special Provincial Council today, the delegates from the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec–FIQ and FIQ | Secteur privé–FIQP unanimously rejected the government’s offer that directly affects their working conditions. The delegates’ vote results sends a clear message to the government. The global offer presented last week does not respond to the problems repeatedly denounced by the nurses, licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists and clinical perfusionists. “The anger triggered by these employer offers was very clear. Contemptuous, insulting and disrespectful were among the descriptions expressed by the Federation’s delegates. While the professionals had demonstrated their distress before the pandemic, the lack of real measures for their working conditions in their current state is no more, no less than a total lack of respect by the government for this workforce made up of a majority of women” stated Nancy Bédard, President of the FIQ.
A conflicting narrative from the Minister of Health
“The public narrative from the Minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé, needs to be more clearly reflected in the offers at the bargaining table. He has been saying for several days that he is aware of the network’s acute vulnerability and wants a quick agreement. This government should be more convincing in its offers, as it is no longer the time for signals. Now is the time for concrete progress on the solutions proposed by the healthcare professionals. Moreover, the Minister of Health must clearly understand the message. The unacceptable setbacks in last week’s offer have to disappear. Lacking real measures for their working conditions, they are convinced that the entire public health network will collapse. They are more determined than ever to wage this battle for themselves and patients in Québec,” stated Ms. Bédard.
Nothing for the excessive workload
The FIQ deplores the lack of offers directly affecting the healthcare professionals’ work overload. “Around this important question revolves a set of crucial issues like safe ratios, complete and stable work teams and overtime, whether voluntary or not. If this problem is not tackled head-on, the major shift required in the health network will not materialize,” pointed out Jérôme Rousseau, Vice-President and joint officer for the negotiations.
More full-time professionals?
The government wants more healthcare professionals to work full time, but there is no incentive or guarantee on the nature of these positions in the offer. Therefore, it is obvious to the Federation that this government does not understand the reasons why large numbers of healthcare professionals choose to work part time. “It is normal not to want to work in a double-locked cage. How to attract the next generation and have more healthcare professionals who want to work full time? First, there must be a guarantee of a position on a stable and complete work team, with an adequate ratio of patients, knowledge of their schedule in advance, time off can be taken and they will no longer be hostages to mandatory overtime. This is what the professionals are demanding, respect and recognition so they can practise their profession in optimal conditions. Everyone wins! The government, healthcare professionals and patients”, concluded Roberto Bomba, Treasurer and joint officer for the negotiations.