This afternoon, nearly 500 nurses, licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists and clinical perfusionists demonstrated downtown Montreal to signal they are turning up the pressure tactics and are exasperated by the government. They are fighting for real progress at the bargaining table.
“The government says nonstop that it wants flexibility. It’s as if the government wants to reduce healthcare professionals to interchangeable pawns who have no lives of their own. The government wants flexibility so that its managers can fill in gaps in schedules to the detriment of workers in the field. To put managers’ comfort above the needs of healthcare professionals is to truly not understand the serious problems in the network right now,” explained Julie Bouchard, President, Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec–FIQ.
Jumping ship to save themselves
While most people don’t know this, there is no shortage of nurses in Quebec. According to the latest data, there have never been so many. The problem is that working and salary conditions in the public network are so terrible that few of them want to keep working there. Healthcare professionals are struggling to provide the population with safe, quality care.
“We aren’t dealing with a labour shortage but rather an exodus of healthcare professionals trying to save themselves. The Chair of the Conseil du trésor says we lack clear priorities, so here are a few: give us the option to prepare a birthday supper for our children! Make it possible for us to make a dentist appointment without having to postpone it 50 times! Give us a guarantee that we can attend family reunions that are planned months in advance! It’s the only way, otherwise the exodus will get worse, with disastrous consequences for healthcare professionals and their patients,” concluded Ms. Bouchard.