MONTREAL – Canada’s unions stand in solidarity with the 420,000 striking Front commun workers and support their demands for better working conditions and wages.
Members of the education, health and social services personnel, 78% of whom are women, are sending a clear warning to the government to table offers, resume negotiations and offer them the fair deal they all deserve.
“The Front commun’s demands are not excessive, since these workers have single-handedly held down the education, health and social services, high education, and government agencies during the pandemic,” says Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).
Negotiations between the Front commun and François Legault’s government began over a year ago, and workers have been without a contract since last March. The Quebec government needs to understand that their current working conditions are not only unsustainable, but also likely to prompt them to leave their jobs, further weakening the health and education and social services networks.
“For the CLC-affiliated Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ), a member of the Front commun, the Quebec government must come to its senses. While this same government has awarded itself wage increases of 30% over a single year for its ministers and deputies, the latest offer of 10.3% over 5 years is an insult to those who are the heart of Quebec’s public service systems. Workers are demanding not only to be respected, but also to be treated fairly, with decent wages and acceptable working conditions,” says FTQ President Magali Picard.
At the same time, and for the first time in two decades, 80,000 nurses, nursing assistants, respiratory therapists and clinical perfusionists belonging to the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ) went on strike. Over 90% of FIQ members are women with experience in caregiving. Healthcare professionals are facing terrible working conditions and are calling on the current government to propose viable solutions. “The general strike we are witnessing today in Quebec is due to the fact that workers are defending themselves, fighting back and demanding better. Workers risk everything on strike, but they have no other means of pressure than to withdraw their services. Their message to Premier François Legault couldn’t be clearer: the status quo is no longer an option,” says Bea Bruske, President of the CLC.
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