Strike from December 8th to 14th for the 420000 union

Strike from December 8th to 14th for the 420,000 union members of the Common Front –

The Common Front’s 420,000 health, social services and education union members will walk off their jobs from December 8 to 14 to increase pressure on the government. The 80,000 members of the Interprofessional Health Federation of Quebec (FIQ) will go on strike from December 11 to 14, Le Devoir learned.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Common Front unions (CSN, CSQ, APTS and FTQ) said they wanted to “give negotiations a chance”. However, they warned Quebec that they would launch an indefinite general strike in 2024 if an agreement in principle is not reached by Christmas.

“The appointed arbitrator was finally able to provoke certain movements at the negotiating table,” said François Enault, first vice-president of the Confederation of National Trade Unions (CSN), at a press conference on Tuesday. “There are currently discussions. Things are not progressing at the pace we had hoped, but there is still movement. More exercise than in the last 12 months. »

Since the appointment of the arbitrator a week ago, several days of negotiations have taken place and are planned, the Joint Front said. In addition to the negotiations on Sunday and Monday, the management and union parties will also hold discussions on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. According to the union, the government has submitted a document detailing its teaching aid proposal.

The Common Front plans to consult all unions on December 18 and 19 in order to “ratify the agreement in principle before the holidays,” explained François Enault. “If there is no agreement in December, it is clear that we have a mandate for an unlimited general strike in our pocket for 2024,” he added.

When asked if it would strike again like the Common Front, the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ) said it would answer that question tomorrow. In an “Info-négo” newsletter distributed to its members on Tuesday, the FIQ announced a new sequence of strike days on December 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th.

Reactions in Quebec

The announcement of new strike days by the Common Front sparked a reaction in Quebec. In the National Assembly, the official opposition demanded the chairmanship of the President of the Ministry of Finance, Sonia LeBel. “If she is not competent to stand trial, we will have to appoint someone else to negotiate in her place,” said Liberal MP Marwah Rizqy.

She listed the ten unions with which the government is negotiating. “It’s zero out of ten. She couldn’t sign with anyone. “The only thing she signed with was the Los Angeles Kings,” she joked. “Does the Prime Minister still believe that she is the woman in the situation when she is at zero? [signature] in ten? In my opinion, the question no longer arises at zero out of ten. »

According to Ms Rizqy, Prime Minister François Legault should be involved in the negotiations. In her opinion, Ms. LeBel, as President of the Treasury Board, “has an obligation to deliver.” Plus, she would have had to spend the entire weekend negotiating. “Quebecians are worried, it is our state missions that are in danger,” stressed the Liberal.

“We want a negotiated, regulated agreement because at the moment there are services that are not being provided. It becomes essential. We are overtaxing the resources we call our guardian angels. I don’t know if the government recognizes that,” she said. Ms Rizqy said she feared these negotiations would “leave a bitter taste” for public sector workers.

Effects on children

Many schools in various regions – Montreal, Laval, Montérégie, Basses-Laurentides, Estrie, Outaouais and Quebec – are closed for a week due to the Common Front strike days (November 21-23) and the indefinite general strike that began on November 23 from the Autonomous Education Federation (FAE).

Montreal Association of School Directors president Kathleen Legault is concerned about the fate of students living in disadvantaged areas. “If we serve students a meal every day and they are away for a week or two, we can ask ourselves, ‘Do they have everything they need?’” The longer the closure lasts, the more concerned it becomes. »

Kathleen Legault also fears that older young people are choosing to drop out of school to enter the workforce. “In the short term it may seem like the solution to them, but we know that in the long term not having an education is a problem,” she says.

Quebec Federation of Educational Institution Directors president Nicolas Prévost believes the school calendar will need to be reviewed if the FAE strike continues next week. The Ministry of Education provides 180 school days per year.

“It won’t make any sense,” he said. We cannot afford to leave our children without an education. I think if I were a minister I would be asking myself a lot of questions after this week. »

According to Nicolas Prévost, the “simplest” solution – “and it will not be easy,” he specifies – would be to shorten the holiday period during the spring break and extend the school year “a little” at the end of June. The sliding educational leave for the current strike days has already expired.

To watch in the video