Carrying the system on our shoulders for a 5% increase over three years – we’re done! APTS-FIQ alliance grows impatient
15 septembre 2020
Québec – In order to remind the Québec government that contract talks to renew their collective agreement are crucial and that its wage offers need to be significantly improved, members of the APTS-FIQ alliance carried out a symbolic action today in front of the National Assembly. “If anyone in this government was still in doubt about the fact that health care professionals, and professionals and technicians in the health and social services system, are carrying the full weight of the system on their shoulders, the last few months must have made things pretty clear,” say APTS and FIQ presidents Andrée Poirier and Nancy Bédard, speaking with one voice. “The pandemic has put unbearable pressure on workers who were already exhausted and stretched to the limit. Contract talks began almost a year ago. Clearly, the government still doesn’t understand how urgent the situation is. Its wage offer hasn’t budged in months – a pathetic 5% increase over three years. For us, this is completely unacceptable.”
The two presidents pointed out that their members are currently paying a high price. For months, people employed in the health and social services system have been denied any possibility of balancing family, work and personal life. “131,000 people, of whom a great majority are women, are working in appalling conditions. Their physical and mental health is deeply affected. They’ve been showing up throughout the pandemic to face a heavy workload, long working hours, a lack of protective equipment, forced overtime, and a highly unpredictable context. As a matter of justice, it’s time for the pendulum to swing the other way.” In terms of wage increases, the two union organizations are asking for 12.4% over three years, including a catch-up increase of 7.4%. “This increase was fully deserved even before the pandemic began,” argue both presidents. “At this point, it’s more than justified.”
According to the APTS-FIQ alliance, there is a connection that cannot be overemphasized between improved working conditions and attracting and retaining personnel and providing the population with safer and more accessible care and services. “The government needs to understand that everyone can win in this situation,” say Poirier and Bédard. “Employees will know that the value of their work is more fairly recognized. The health and social services system will be in a better position to attract the workers it so desperately needs, and Quebecers will benefit from better access to care and services.”
The APTS and the FIQ
The APTS represents 55,000 professionals and technicians who provide a wide range of healthcare and social services throughout the system, including diagnostic, rehabilitation, nutrition, psychosocial intervention, clinical support and prevention services. The FIQ represents 76,000 nurses, licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists and clinical perfusionists working in healthcare facilities across Québec.