FIQ (Fédération Interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec)

Delays in payments of amounts due to the personnel in the health and social services network — Again, it’s women who suffer!

Delays in payments of amounts due to the personnel in the health and social services network — Again, it’s women who suffer!

The Fédération de la Santé et des services sociaux (FSSS-CSN), Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ), the Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique (CPAS-SCFP), Syndicat québécois des employées et employés de service (SQEES-FTQ), Fédération de la santé du Québec (FSQ-CSQ), Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux (APTS), Fédération des professionnèles (FP-CSN) and the Syndicat de professionnelles et professionnels du gouvernement du Québec (SPGQ) deplore the fact that the government is not honouring its signature and that it is still delaying the payment of the amounts owed to thousands of health and social services workers.

Eighty percent are women who are expecting $1.28 billion as a result of the signing of collective agreements, and for some job titles, there is an additional $1.15 billion for the settlement of pay equity complaints from 2010 and 2015.

Unjustifiable confusion

In the face of strong pressure from the unions since last November to accelerate payments, the Minister of Health and Social Services, Mr. Christian Dubé, committed to making the payments by March 1, 2022, a deadline that was soon pushed back without even notifying the affected network personnel or the labour organizations. Last Friday, representatives from the MSSS presented a new, incomplete and vague payment schedule, extending to March 23 in some cases, and that these payments could be made by advances. The unions are worried that their members could receive incorrect amounts that they would have to reimburse afterwards.

Moreover, while Minister Dubé has repeatedly stated that he would assume his responsibilities for these delays, the deputy minister informed us that there would be no interest paid on the amounts owed to our members. This is adding insult to injury!

As for the payment of pay equity settlements, no date has been given, other than that nothing will be done before April.

“We do not understand that in 2022, in Québec, women must still wait to have a salary equal to that of men. These complaints are from 2010 and 2015. This is simply unacceptable and revolting, not only for the women to whom these amounts are owed, but for all women in Québec.”

Spokespersons for the health and social services unions.

Minister Dubé stated that he was embarrassed by the inefficiency of the various systems within his ministry and the institutions to pay the amounts due our members. However, he must be held responsible for delays whose deadlines were known months in advance. He was also late in issuing a directive to the network to ensure that payments were made on a priority basis. Furthermore, his explanations regarding the obsolete computer systems leave us speechless in the context. We acknowledge that government staff are hard at work compensating for the incompetence of external payroll providers (Médisolution and Logibec) and the minister’s lack of action. The labour organizations believe that the government should repatriate these services to the competent and qualified civil service to reduce subcontracting in the health and social services network and ensure better follow-up.

A government that cannot be trusted

These numerous postponements further undermine the morale of the troops in the field and the confidence in the word of the Minister of Health, if not in the government of François Legault.

“These are significant amounts of money to which our members are entitled. For two years now, the workers in the health and social services network have been holding it up, constantly making sacrifices at both the professional and personal level. It is becomingly increasingly difficult to be motivated. These late payments are demobilizing the workers. As we approach March 8, International Women’s Rights Day, we call on the government to pay our members, the vast majority of whom are women, the amounts negotiated in their work contracts and in pay equity agreements.”

Spokespersons for the health and social services unions.