The draft collective agreement for the working conditions of care professionals in nursing and cardio-respiratory care was passed on October 1st. This is an important step in the process. We will enter negotiations with the filing of this draft with the government representatives on October 29th. The delay adopted to have a signature of the collective agreement is very tight as it is projected that the process be concluded by March 31, 2010.
The draft collective agreement that the FIQ will file at the negotiations table is aggressive and innovative. Within the current labour shortage context, it has been nursing and cardio-respiratory care professionals holding up the network for years. This cannot go on, it is time to bring lasting solutions to the horrible conditions of practice in order to attract younger people and to retain the more experienced to insure continuity of services.
The FIQ draft collective agreement acts on the labour shortage and the work overload of care professionals. As a matter of fact, it offers a concrete and sustainable means to consolidate the public healthcare network, and also to improve the quality of life at work, to encourage the reconciliation of family and professional life and to recognize the difficulties related to working in the healthcare field.
The government must see reason because it cannot ignore the disastrous effects of the shortage on the conditions of practice for care professionals and it cannot risk putting the services and care given to the public in danger as well as weakening the network.
However, Premier Jean Charest is a tenacious adversary. Remember the last negotiations which quickly ended when the government imposed a collective agreement by decree. A few weeks ago, Jean Charest indicated where he sits when he stated that it will not be enough to increases rates to clean up public finances, government expenses must also be tackled. Such being the case, payroll expenses for government employees represent the largest part of Quebec’s budget. According to the premier, all Quebecers must contribute towards returning to a "0 deficit". Coincidentally, this statement was made just as the negotiations with government employees is about to start.
Therefore, we must confront our adversary with strength and determination in order to promote our point of view, make the gains necessary for improving the working conditions of nurses, licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists and perfusionists in order to maintain the quality of healthcare.
Together, united and in solidarity, in order to be heard and be able to change things!