FTQ and CSN will collaborate to negotiate the wages of RPA workers
The CSN and the FTQ join hands to conduct negotiations aimed at raising the minimum wage for employees of private seniors' residences in Quebec to $18 per hour.
The FTQ and the CSN have agreed to collaborate during the negotiations they will lead respectively with private residences for seniors with the aim of raising the minimum wage for RPA workers to at least $18 per hour.< /p>
Representatives of the two central unions met with the press on Friday morning to explain why they will jointly demand this wage increase for all staff in private residences for seniors (RPA).
This is not a common front, explained the president of the FTQ, Daniel Boyer: We will coordinate, but we will not be sitting at the same negotiating table.
< p class="e-p">The end of the COVID bonus of $4 per hour, granted by the government of François Legault to RPA staff, justifies this union collaboration, say the leaders of the two centrals.
This premium should decrease from the end of the health emergency, therefore from next December 31.
“So salaries should revert over time to what is in collective agreements, and these are not sky-high salaries. »
— Daniel Boyer, President of the FTQ
The labor shortage, present throughout the health sector, is glaring in the RPA, argue the unions. The end of the bonus will mean that wages will fall back to pre-pandemic levels. From 2019 to 2021, the hourly wage for patient care attendants was $14.77 at the low end and $16.21 at the high end, according to data from the FTQ.
In Quebec, since May 1, the minimum wage is $14.25 per hour.
Maintenance and kitchen workers in RPAs earn even less than beneficiary attendants. Thus, from 2019 to 2021 (i.e. before the increase in the minimum hourly wage to $14.25), they earned less than $14 per hour.
According to unions, turnover is 50% in RPAs. And the first victims of this instability are seniors and workers, said Sylvie Nelson, president of the Quebec Union of Service Employees (SQEES), one of the major unions affiliated with the FTQ which represents thousands workers (most of them women) in these residences.
“Imagine receiving weekly care, often intimate care, from five, six different people. It just doesn't make sense. »
— Sylvie Nelson, President of the Quebec Union of Service Employees
This negotiation poses a particular challenge to the two central unions, since the employers are different. Some are part of large chains, while others are small residences. In addition, the expiry dates of the collective agreements differ.
The vice-president of the Federation of Health and Social Services (FSSS-CSN), Lucie Longchamps, believes that the government of the Coalition avenir Québec must intervene. She made the request, by letter, to the Minister for Health and Seniors, Sonia Bélanger.
Ms Longchamps is advocating for unions to sit down with government and RPA owners to put solutions in place. Everyone knows what happened in the pandemic in these establishments and it's not better, she laments, adding that the outbreaks of COVID-19 are in full recovery.
< p class="e-p">The first vice-president of the CSN, François Énault, says that the operating profit margins of the private accommodation sector in Quebec are close to 14%, one of the highest rates in Canada.
The CSN represents more than 3,500 workers in 90 private accommodation centers in Quebec, while the FTQ has more than 11,000 in 178 private residences.
The Chartwell, Sélection, Maurice, Savoie and Cogir groups own 35% of the housing units of all seniors' residences in Quebec, continues Mr. Énault, who mentions assets reaching billions of dollars for these companies.
With information from La Presse canadienne