That’s it, we’ve reached the crunch of the negotiations. Our mobilization is at its peak: four days of strike and four more announced for December 11, 12, 13 and 14, 2023.
There’s a lot going on in the media too, with the government issuing one statement after another at breakneck speed and messages sometimes taking strange shortcuts. At times like these, doubt becomes a formidable weapon that can quickly knock us off our feet.
This week, while the Negotiating Committee was literally at the bargaining table and things were moving along, Mr. Legault went public with a statement to the effect that discussions with the FIQ are supposedly “difficult”, and that we were refusing the premiums for the “unfavourable” shifts. I have only one thing to say on this: it’s COMPLETELY FALSE. Anyone working in the health network knows that there are already premiums based on shifts and departments. It’s even in our negotiation demands to improve the night premium and convert the weekend premium into salary increased by 50%.
Furthermore, it’s INSULTING to be told we are “difficult” at the table. If it’s true that we are standing firm, and that we have good bargaining power, since when does that mean there is a problem in the negotiations? Would the premier say the same thing if he was negotiating with a male-dominated profession? I’ll tell you, the only difficult thing in these negotiations was getting the employers to finally agree to discuss our proposals.
From the beginning of these negotiations, and even before, the paternalism and arrogance with which this government treats the healthcare professionals, and also the teachers, is exasperating. You are entitled to be angry. And you know what? You’re absolutely right, because this way of treating female-dominated professions is not only insulting and outdated, but also largely responsible for the very problems we are trying to solve in the health network.
If Mr. Legault wants to derail these negotiations, he could not have done otherwise. With that statement, he clearly intended to turn public opinion against us. But Quebecers are not fools! They have clearly understood that quality care requires better pay, a reduced workload and a better work-life balance. That’s why nearly 7 out of 10 citizens currently support our demands.
Let’s get back to basics. Gains are made at the bargaining table, and all our mobilization, our anger and our indignation should be channeled to maintaining this public support, and the bargaining power that the Negotiating Committee currently has.
Don’t be fooled by the public spectacle that Mr. Legault and company are currently engaged in. The pressure we are applying is paying off at the bargaining table. The tone has changed, the pace has quickened and the employer is finally discussing our demands.
On December 5 and 6, 2023, your representatives meeting in a Federal Council will be updated on the Negotiating Committee’s progress. Then we can discuss it more openly with you. Follow us for more information.
Until then, let’s stay united, determined and mobilized!