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“COVID premiums” for another month: still on the rollercoaster with no permanent solutions in sight

March 30, 2022

Montréal – With some annoyance, labour organizations in the health and social services system nonetheless welcome the government’s decision to extend, at least to May 14, the various “COVID premiums” that were due to end April 16. For the FSSS-CSN, the FSQ-CSQ, the FIQ and FIQP, the APTS, CUPE-Quebec, the SQEES-FTQ, the FP-CSN and the SPGQ, two things are confirmed by this decision: first, that the premiums had to be extended until we get a transition plan to long-lasting solutions, and second, that cooperation and predictability are needed to attract and retain personnel.

“It’s certainly unfortunate that we needed a possible sixth wave for the government to correct the mistake of cancelling these premiums,” say representatives of the FSSS-CSN, the FSQ-CSQ, the FIQ and FIQP, the APTS, CUPE-Quebec, the SQEES-FTQ, the FP-CSN and the SPGQ. “They’re not perfect, but they’re necessary right now to stop people from quitting and to prevent breaks in services. Also unfortunate is the fact that we were informed, but not consulted. We’ll keep on saying this as long as it needs to be said: unilateral action on a piecemeal basis leads to incoherent measures. If the idea is to make a plan, rebuild, and find long-lasting and sustainable solutions, we have to be included. The voice of our members is vitally important.”

“We want a solution that’s fair and that’s been negotiated with labour organizations,” add the union representatives. “These premiums create huge disparities between different categories of workers, and they can actually be counterproductive in some cases. Once again, we’re calling for transitional measures that are fair and headed in the right direction: making the health and social services system into an employer of choice, and providing Quebecers with the high-quality care and services they deserve.”

Sources: FSSS-CSN, FSQ-CSQ, FIQ, SQEES-FTQ, CUPE-Quebec, APTS, FP-CSN, SPGQ