Negotiating a collective agreement is a long process, full of surprises, with several stages, and all within a large democratic structure.
Here is an overview of the first steps that we, as members of the Negotiating Committee elected by the delegation, have experienced up until now. You can read the details of various meetings here. They are updated regularly.
A year’s work
Our mandate officially started on April 1, 2019, after we were elected to the Negotiating Committee. That is when we began helping to prepare negotiations and developed the online consultation for FIQ and FIQP members, which was held during summer 2019.
From late June to late August, we went to support the members in our respective unions. In September, we compiled and analyzed the results of the consultation, which was based on the negotiations’ two top priorities and five objectives. Afterwards, we would begin writing the official negotiation project that the FIQ would submit to the government.
October 24, 2019: The APTS- FIQ alliance submitted their 32 intersectoral demands. Our demands focused on the four main intersectoral topics, i.e., salary, retirement, parental rights and regional disparities. You can view the demands here.
October 29, 2019: We submitted the sectoral negotiation project featuring two main priorities and five objectives, with a view to building a tentative agreement. The priorities and objectives came from the consultations in summer 2019 and are a true reflection of the members’ most pressing needs.
This is a totally new negotiation approach: instead of submitting a list of demands, the FIQ is being innovative and changing its strategy. We will address the problems with the aim of reaching a common understanding, both for the employer party and the union party, in order to find viable solutions for everyone. This way, the solutions will be more legitimate and, we hope, easier to implement quickly so as to permanently resolve problematic situations.
November and December 2019: work with the negotiation coordinators to prepare sectoral and intersectoral meetings between the FIQ and the government.
Between January and March 2020: negotiations start and a few meetings were held with the employer party before COVID-19 hit.
March 2020: the government proposed that we suspend provincial negotiations due to the pandemic. A few days later, the employer party asked us to negotiate special measures for the health crisis as well as to quickly negotiate a comprehensive collective agreement before March 31, 2020.
That’s when we had no choice but to return to a more traditional negotiation style, i.e., with a specific list of demands for healthcare professionals’ working conditions. During this interval, the Negotiation Council held several meetings (the council is made up of one representative per affiliated union and one representative per job title).
Early April: the negotiation blitz was inconclusive. The two parties were light years away from an agreement. We had to reassess the situation on a day-to-day basis to adapt to the health, social, economic and political context.
Later in April, we had a meeting with the Comité patronal de négociation du secteur de la santé et des services sociaux (CPNSSS) in which we were able to set a work schedule and discuss the next step of sectoral negotiations. There were no further meetings with the CPNSSS after this. The Conseil du trésor took up negotiations a few days later, which meant our counter party at the bargaining table had just changed. Usually the Conseil du trésor only handles intersectoral matters.
April 27: the Conseil du trésor presented a verbal tentative agreement on an exploratory basis. The Negotiating Committee had a lot of analyzing to do.
Then, on May 21, the Conseil du trésor submitted its comprehensive offer in writing with a few minor differences from what it had presented in April. Once again, it was unacceptable. It was the same offer that was presented at the virtual council on May 26, which the FIQ and FIQP delegates unanimously rejected.
Negotiation meetings started up again in June in person with representatives from the Secrétariat du Conseil du trésor and the CPNSSS. As such, negotiations are currently underway.
We will give you an update in the next blog entry.
See you soon!