Our health network is ill and it needs a boost to improve the healthcare professionals’ working conditions and have the winning conditions that will attract the next generation.
However, the measures put on the table by the employer party last September 9 and 11 are light years away from the healthcare professionals’ expectations. We, the elected representatives on the Negotiating Committee, were very disappointed by the government’s proposals for supposedly stabilizing the teams, reducing overtime and increasing full-time work.
It’s obvious the two parties do not have the same definition of stability! The employer has no proposal to reduce the work overload, even that the word “overload” is taboo. However, we clearly said that reducing the work overload is a must for the FIQ and FIQP members. The employer can no longer think that mandatory overtime (MOT) is a management solution. It doesn’t make sense! Without a major change, now, healthcare professionals will continue to leave the network and the next generation will abandon these exciting professions.
The same objective, but completely opposite solutions
The desire to stabilize the teams and reduce the use of overtime (OT) exists on both sides of the bargaining table. The FIQ fervently wishes to eliminate mandatory overtime (MOT), and proposes other solutions.
The FIQ is demanding safe healthcare professional-to-patient ratios to reduce the workload. The FIQ is also demanding a 12% premium for the healthcare professionals who voluntarily choose to hold a full-time position. The goal is that this premium can be converted into a paid day off.
For its part, the government wants to limit access to overtime paid at time and one-half (OT), by spreading the workweek over a longer period of time and removing the 16-hour interval between two shifts from the collective agreement that entitles an employee to overtime. Moreover, time and one-half would only apply after working 12 hours in a day. These are all proposals that would result in paying healthcare professionals at straight time for the many hours worked over the regular workweek! These proposals will only hide the hours worked as overtime to improve the government’s statistics.
The employer’s proposal contains openings on several demands. However, we feel that it is only scraps that are clearly not enough for a settlement. Furthermore, the delegation unanimously rejected these proposals.
We are returning to the bargaining table even more convinced that are demands are well founded. We will try everything, as it is urgent that we act before it is too late!
Call to action
The economic impacts from the public health crisis have transformed the budget surplus never seen before in Québec into a major deficit. The employer party is using this context to remind us at every opportunity just how high the cost of our demands are.
Already in the spring and now this fall, traditional mobilization of the FIQ and FIQP members is nearly impossible, because of the social distancing measures and, obviously, with the exposure of the healthcare professionals’ workload in the midst of a pandemic.
It must be hammered home that the healthcare professionals are at the heart of the battle against COVID-19 and they are the ones with the best solutions for improving patient care. The ministerial orders s hurt and we must take advantage of this dissatisfaction to mobilize them. This is difficult, but will have significant impact not only on further negotiations, but on the healthcare professionals’ working conditions over the next few years.
The work on essential services is progressing well for each of the union teams affiliated with the FIQ. This work is a must to obtain the ultimate pressure tactic, the right to strike. Finishing this work quickly is an excellent way to be heard and send a strong message to the employer party.
We need your support more than ever. We have to take every opportunity to be heard in order to reach a negotiated tentative agreement quickly that responds to the healthcare professionals’ expectations.