On June 30, the FIQ left the bargaining table because the government was asking it to accept the unacceptable.
Accepting the unacceptable means that the FIQ would have to consent to an agreement, negotiated with other labour organizations, which was rejected unanimously by the delegates elected by its members. What could have led the employer party to believe that this was possible? Calling for an agreement of this kind is the same as imposing a decree because, in any case, the FIQ’s right to negotiate is negated. This is what causes the Federation to believe that the latest employer’s offer is a disguised decree. The FIQ will never accept such odious working conditions.
What was put on the table is really a rollback on the working conditions of care professionals. Yet the government constantly defends its proposed agreement, claiming ad nauseam that it is satisfactory to both parties. Nothing in this proposal is satisfactory, Ms. Gagnon-Tremblay! Nothing in this proposal can attract and retain care professionals in the public health system, Mr. Bolduc! There are no concrete measures in this proposal to guarantee the quality of care for the Quebec population in the years ahead, Mr. Charest.
Through its last offer, the government is telling care professionals that they must continue to work overtime, work 16 hours in a row several times a week, and be physically and mentally exhausted. Through its last offer, the government is confirming that, despite the staff shortage, it does not want to create more full-time positions to stabilize the care teams, or to adopt measures that would bring staff back to the public network from the private placement firms and thus reduce the shortage.
To all indications, it would be more relevant for Minister Bolduc to stop investing in committees, in private care placement firms and in relying on overtime. Instead, he should put his efforts into the public health system.
The demands defended by the FIQ do not stop at the doors of a health care institution, and that is the source of its strength. Its credibility and reputation come from the fact that it cares deeply about the health and welfare of the entire population. It is urgent to recognize the work of care professionals and strengthen the public health system.
In the weeks ahead, we must show more solidarity than never. The mobilization of the FIQ’s 58,000 members must continue. If you haven’t already done this, sign the petition launched by the FIQ on June 20 and ask the people close to you to sign as well. Add your voice to the tens of thousands of individuals and organizations who support the FIQ in its negotiations with the government. The public, which includes care professionals, is faced with a collective challenge: the survival of the public health system. This survival depends on the working conditions of the professionals who work there.
Yours in solidarity,