This week in Dublin, Ireland, the Global Nurses United (GNU) Convention began. This organization, of which the FIQ is a founding member, brings together labour organizations from 15 different countries from around the world. Its main mission is to allow for these organizations to share their experiences in fighting against austerity and the privatization of public health services.
For me, this meeting is an opportunity to remind ourselves of the importance of making connections with our sister organizations across the globe in order to better understand the impact of political decisions made at the international level, as well as their impact on financing and on our working conditions.
What first comes to mind are the international treaties which tend to increasingly reduce each State’s ability to decide what should or should not be financed using public funds or what should be covered by specific régulations. In fact, this issue is on the agenda of the GNU Convention for the purpose of establishing a common action plan.
It is also vital that we collectively address the issue of climate change on a planetary scale. In fact, climate change is « one of the worst threats to our health of the 21st century » and the resources needed to address it could have an impact on the financing of health care. Another problem, which stems partially from the issue of climate change, is the spread and multiplication of infectious diseases, which already affect many countries and which could soon constitute a veritable conundrum for Quebec’s public healthcare network, whether it be concerning the safety or the quality of care.
Our presence at the GNU Convention is a unique opportunity for us to forge new alliances and to increase our solidarity with those who endure situations that are sometimes quite similar and other times quite different than ours, all with the perspective of building upon the unionism that we wish to pass on to future generations. It also represents a unique opportunity for us to share our experiences, innovations and good practices concerning the organization of work. In fact, we will be sure to bring up the question of healthcare professional-to-patient ratios. It is meetings such as these that allow us to plan our own activities here in Quebec, such as the International symposium on safe health care, which will take place in Laval on October 26, 2016, and for which you still have time to register.