FIQ (Fédération Interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec)

Healthcare professionals send the government a message: it will need to offer a lot more if it wants to reach a tentative agreement with them

Healthcare professionals send the government a message: it will need to offer a lot more if it wants to reach a tentative agreement with them

Gathered at the Special Federal Council to get up to speed on negotiations, hundreds of delegates with the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec – FIQ took to the street to send a clear message to the Quebec government. “If the Quebec government wants to reach a tentative agreement with us, it will have to seriously increase its offers for healthcare professionals. In the last weeks, we have consulted our members on the government offers and their response is crystal clear. The government must vastly improve them to better meet the needs of nurses, licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists and clinical perfusionists. The salary offers and change to retirement criteria are some of the things that deeply anger the vast majority of healthcare professionals,” stated Julie Bouchard, FIQ President.

Discordant rhetoric

The FIQ can see that the CAQ government’s discordant rhetoric is getting harder and harder for healthcare professionals to take. After several months at the bargaining table where progress is going at a snail’s pace, the government is barely starting to pick up any speed. “How can the government claim it wants to seriously and quickly improve their working and salary conditions with offers that barely respond to their demands?” asked Ms. Bouchard. 

Ironically, a few days ago in his end-of-session report, Premier François Legault said that negotiations were especially difficult with the FIQ. “And yet, at the bargaining table, we are a long way from the tense atmosphere that can be seen in the final stages of negotiations. We are talking, but obviously, several of the government’s proposals are unacceptable to our members. It should also understand that the FIQ represents the voice of 80,000 healthcare professionals who are also government employees. Without revealing the consultation results, we can safely say that they do not think the government offers adequately respond to their demands to reduce the workload, facilitate better work-personal life balance or truly improve their salary. 90% of respondents said they were unsatisfied with the salary offers. It’s a result that leaves no room for interpretation,” explained Jérôme Rousseau, FIQ Vice-President and Joint Political Officer for negotiations.

Will things heat up in the fall?

The FIQ knows the coming weeks will be decisive and if the government doesn’t significantly change its tune, things could heat up in the fall. “We already have an action and mobilization plan that was approved by the delegation. The actions will gradually finish in a crescendo, including heavier pressure tactics that will be used if the situation calls for it. Everything is on the table and healthcare professionals’ determination to be heard is palpable in healthcare institutions across the province. And let’s just say that the significant salary increase that the National Assembly members voted for themselves added extra fuel to the mobilization fire. They won’t accept anything less from these negotiations than what they deserve. And it’s not just to regain a better quality of life at work and home, but to be able to provide safe, quality care to patients, which they think has been out of reach for a very long time now,” concluded Nathalie Lévesque, Vice-President and Joint Political Officer for negotiations.