Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press Quebec and the Common Front have concluded a proposed agreement in principle which will establish the salary conditions of the 420,000 public sector employees.
The government and the Common Front agreed on Thursday on a proposed agreement in principle which will establish the salary conditions of the 420,000 public sector employees represented by the union group.
The details of the agreement reached at the central table are not known, but this development constitutes a major element which paves the way for a settlement with the majority of public sector employees for the renewal of their collective agreements.
Just like the other agreements announced in recent days at the tables of the different sectors, the one that occurred at the central table on Thursday must still be approved by delegates and union members, who will have the last word at future general meetings.
The Common Front brings together public sector union members represented by the Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ), the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN), the Fédération des Travailleurs du Québec (FTQ) and the Alliance professional and technical health and social services personnel (APTS).
Inflation and catch-up
In a press release, the Common Front announced that it had managed to conclude a proposal at the central table, after 11 days of strike earlier this fall. The union group recalled that its intention had always been to protect union members against inflation and to obtain “a certain” wage catch-up.
“This is what guided us throughout this negotiation blitz to reach a proposed agreement,” declared in the press release the spokespersons for the Common Front François Enault, first vice-president of the CSN, Éric Gingras, president of the CSQ, Magali Picard, president of the FTQ, and Robert Comeau, president of the APTS.
The union organizations will convene their delegations over the coming days to present to them the content of the proposed agreements reached at the central table and at each of the sectoral tables in order to determine whether they constitute a global agreement in principle .
The members will then be called to vote at a general assembly to ratify it.
“This round of negotiations will be officially settled when working and practice conditions as well as salary conditions are deemed satisfactory,” the spokespersons said in the press release.
The President of the Treasury Board, Sonia LeBel, confirmed the proposed agreement reached with the Common Front regarding remuneration, retirement and insurance plans, regional disparities and parental rights .
The agreement establishes working conditions for the period from 2023 to 2028.
“This important proposed agreement, lasting five years, takes into account the improvement of the working conditions of state employees and the organization of work through greater flexibility in collective agreements,” said Ms. LeBel’s office in a press release.
The details of the proposed agreement will remain confidential until the members of the Common Front union organizations have expressed their opinion on its content, the minister said.
The Common Front rejected three weeks ago the proposal for a 12.7% wage increase over five years tabled by the government. Prime Minister François Legault had already shown himself open to improving it.
In its negotiations, the government demanded more flexibility from union members. For the health network, the government wanted more flexibility to facilitate the preparation of schedules and intends to offer bonuses for shifts that are less easy to fill, such as night shifts, or positions in the regions.
In education, the government wanted to settle teacher assignments before the summer rather than in August, which causes “psychodramas”.
Last week, its leaders recalled that they were ready to exercise an unlimited general strike mandate from January if discussions did not progress satisfactorily with the government. At the same time, they said it could be a few more days before reaching an agreement.
On Thursday, the government also announced that a comprehensive proposal had been agreed with the Autonomous Federation of Education (FAE), a union that is not part of the Common Front.
This preliminary agreement, which concerns 40% of Quebec teachers, concerns in particular elements linked to remuneration and the organization of work, such as the organization of the task and the conditions of employment. Teachers represented by the FAE have been on strike since November 23.
As for the 80,000 nurses represented by the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ), negotiations were still continuing on Thursday.