At a special provincial council – negotiations, the delegates of the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec – FIQ and the FIQ | Secteur privé rejected the offers the government submitted on December 15. The government’s proposal is disconnected from the problems that nurses, licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists and clinical perfusionists have expressed over and over. “There is unmistakable anger over the employer offers. Disrespectful, inadequate and insulting were some of the most common words the delegates used to describe them. While the system is literally crumbling, healthcare professionals are sacrificing their physical and mental health to care for patients and care quality and safety has never been so endangered, this is the government showing pure and total disrespect to a labour force that is mainly composed of women,” said Julie Bouchard, FIQ President.
The Health Minister’s contradictory discourse
As Ms. Bouchard sees it, what Christian Dubé, Minister of Health, says to the public should come through at the bargaining table. “For weeks now he has said that he is aware of the extreme fragility of the network, of the pressure on healthcare professionals, including the effects of mandatory overtime, and says that he wants negotiations to yield satisfactory results. However, this enthusiasm has not at all come through in the government’s offers,” said the president.
Moreover, the delegates have widely expressed their incomprehension over the famous discussion forums the government is proposing. “We are way beyond the time for pretty words, for holding more discussion platforms, for drinking coffee at these redundant discussion forums. We already know the solutions and we need to see them at the bargaining table. Healthcare professionals are extremely determined to win this battle for themselves and for their patients and the government needs to quickly get up to speed,” emphasized Ms. Bouchard.
Three top priorities
The FIQ and FIQP members still have the same priorities: remuneration, personal life – work balance and workload. “The government needs to be more convincing about its intentions to actually save the health network. To be a choice employer, as Christian Dubé aspires it to be, it needs to offer competitive salaries and offer healthcare professionals dignified working conditions. Unfortunately, this is clearly a false start for the government,” said the president.