Government’s greater openness is welcomed by coalition of health and social service unions

January 13, 2022

Montréal – As Omicron surges, Québec’s health and social service unions have had constructive exchanges with the government on specific actions to support workers. The FSSS-CSN, FSQ-CSQ, FIQ and FIQP, SQEES-FTQ, CUPE Québec, APTS, FP-CSN and SPGQ are convinced that the key to curbing the Omicron variant is to take every possible step ensuring that employees are protected, and to improve employee attraction and retention by quickly deploying measures that will mean their contribution is recognized.

Labour organizations representing employees in Québec’s health and social services system have been exchanging with the government over the past few days to find solutions that will provide support for workers and rebuild their trust. The government has announced measures for some job groups that will ease the pressure of the past 22 months in significant, though temporary, ways. The union coalition urges the government to continue discussions in the same spirit in order to find a way out of the crisis arising from the pandemic and the labour shortage.

Protecting employees is key

Throughout these exchanges, the union coalition has said that our top priorities in dealing with Omicron must be to apply the precautionary principle and take every necessary measure to protect workers. Providing every employee with access to N95 masks is the first of these measures. The government’s change in tone is welcome, but it still needs to do more to protect employees by promoting measures that are stronger, clearer, and easier to apply.

Taking steps to attract and retain employees

The measures announced today by Minister Dubé are intended to ensure that we have the personnel we need for the next three months. The union coalition urges the government to better recognize efforts made by workers. Extending the full-time premium is a step in the right direction, but the coalition continues to ask that premiums be given to all employees who have been fighting the pandemic on the front lines for months.

“Thanks to our exchanges, the government is committed to taking action in the very near future to halt the crisis,” say leaders of the FSSS-CSN, FSQ-CSQ, FIQ and FIQP, SQEES-FTQ, CUPE Québec, APTS, FP-CSN and SPGQ. “This is clear evidence that we can do a better job managing the pandemic if we work together and listen to solutions put forward by employees. There’s an urgent need for us to keep on working in this way to tackle core problems in our health and social services system.”