The provincial collective agreement will expire on March 31, 2020, and work is underway to renew it. The negotiations cover two areas: sectoral and intersectoral matters.
As regards sectoral matters, the FIQ negotiates directly with the Comité patronal de négociation du secteur de la santé et des services sociaux (CPNSSS).
As regards intersectoral matters, the FIQ negotiates at a shared table with the Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux (APTS) as part of the APTS-FIQ Alliance. They jointly negotiate with the Conseil du trésor:
Together, the APTS and FIQ represent over 131,000 workers in the health and social services network. The two organizations share much common ground, including similar work environments, predominantly female memberships, and similar concerns over many issues.
It has been quite a year for the healthcare professionals at the forefront of the battle against COVID-19 while they are negotiating the renewal of their collective agreement. The negotiation of the provincial collective agreement must be seen as an opportunity to begin rebuilding the network, shaken by the crisis, on solid ground. Now is the time to resolve the problems that healthcare professionals have denounced for years.
With the measures proposed by the FIQ and FIQP, the network will have a chance to recover from the disaster caused by the COVID-19 crisis. The FIQ and FIQP are proposing to add clauses on prevention of infections, insisting on prevention mechanisms in occupational health and safety and are proposing to begin implementing ratios in CHSLDs, the hardest hit areas by the COVID-19 crisis. The government has to take advantage of the opportunity offered to stop the haemorrhage in the health network, while more and more healthcare professionals are thinking about leaving their jobs.
Everything begins with a negotiation project, which includes the FIQ and FIQP’s two priorities: health and safety at all levels and attraction-retention of healthcare professionals in the network. This project is the result itself of consultations with the members. Then, the project is adopted based on the situation – the context of negotiations, current events, and economic reality – with the collaboration of the union reps elected to the Negotiating Committee and representatives from each FIQ and FIQP affiliated union, who make up the Council of Negotiations.
Yes, the 76,000 FIQ and FIQP members will benefit from the key measures. Think about the demand to standardize the workweek at 37.5 hours for everyone and the 12% premium for incumbents of full-time positions or assignments. The demands are made in such a way that all job titles represented by the FIQ and FIQP can reap the benefits.
It is a joint union party and employer party working committee on specific questions and issues, defined at the time the collective agreement is signed. For the sectoral matters, the FIQ and FIQP are demanding the creation of such a committee to discuss updating the collective agreement, reviewing the dispute-resolving mechanisms, including grievances, and ensuring that the collective agreement provides for adequate duty of representation.
Obviously, the FIQ and FIQP are aware that Québec is dealing with a difficult economic period. However, doing nothing will also cost a lot, from both a human and economic point of view. Just look at the example of cuts in public health that have weakened Québec’s response to COVID-19. Are we ready to face a second wave of COVID-19? To face the challenge of an ageing population? It is a collective choice of being able to count on a health network in which all Quebecers can be proud.
Improving the healthcare professionals’ working conditions means improving the quality and safety of patient care. Our members want time with their patients and conditions for giving good care, to do a good job.