Jacques Boissinot Archives The Canadian Press The president of the Treasury Board, Sonia LeBel, also announced that temporary bonuses will be renewed until the renewal of collective agreements, with the exception of those linked to the health emergency.
The president of the Treasury Board, Sonia LeBel, tabled an offer this Sunday which notably proposes a salary increase of 10.3% over five years to state employees, as well as a lump sum of $1,000. The unions reacted by saying they were “disappointed and insulted” by this government filing.
Compared to its previous offer, Quebec is therefore increasing the salary increase from 9 to 10.3% over five years. A lump sum of $1,000 for all employees from the first year of collective agreements is still proposed. The share reserved for differentiated offers, for certain categories of workers, increases from 2.5% to 3%, “in order to respond to work organization challenges”, underlined Ms. LeBel.
“Yes, we must better pay state employees, but I also have the responsibility that each dollar from taxpayers’ pockets is maximized and has a long-term impact in our networks, and not a temporary effect. It is for this reason that we must imperatively address the issues related to the organization of work,” affirmed the woman who is also the minister responsible for Government Administration. His new proposal suggests in particular adding help to secondary school classes, in addition to primary school classes.
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Sonia LeBel also announced that temporary bonuses will be renewed until collective agreements are renewed, with the exception of those linked to the health emergency. They were due to end on March 31 and were extended until September 30, then October 15.
Heading for the strike
The unions grouped together in a common front, the Federation of Quebec Workers (FTQ), the Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ), the Alliance of professional and technical personnel in health and social services (APTS) and the Confederation of unions (CSN) reacted to the offer by confirming that the 420,000 members they represent are still heading towards a first day of strike on November 6.
The Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ), which represents 80,000 nurses and other health professionals, will walk off the job on November 8 and 9.
“We are insulted and angry, because the word “disappointed” is not even strong enough. We moved for nothing. We don’t consider the groups we represent,” lamented Robert Comeau, president of the APTS. He believes that Sunday's offer will strengthen the mobilization of its members.
Offering a salary increase of 10.3% over five years amounts to making fun of workers, lamented the vice-president of the CSN, François Enault. “For the vast majority of our members, what they are being told today is to continue to get poorer. »
The common front is instead asking for an increase of around 20% over three years, depending on inflation forecasts.
Magali Picard, president of the FTQ, also expressed his disappointment at not seeing “significant progress” from François Legault’s government.
The latter said “want to move things forward with this deposit, but it is a missed opportunity”, raised Mélanie Hubert, president of the Autonomous Education Federation. This union group which represents 65,000 teachers is not part of the common front, but it also has a strike mandate. We do not know the date chosen for the moment.
Sonia LeBel says she is “surprised”
In an interview with Le Devoir , Sonia LeBel says she is surprised by the speed of the unions' reaction to her proposal. “The ink is not yet dry on the deposit when it is already being swept away with extremely strong and harsh words. »
The minister calls on the trade union organizations to “go and study properly” her offer and then come back to her. “A filing is very complex and nuanced. »
“If my solutions are not the ones they want, we must at least discuss them and we will be able to reach an agreement,” she continues. She says she still has the goal of reaching an agreement with the unions by the end of the year.