Public-sector contract talks Front commun announces a 3rd series of strike days from December 8 to 14
November 28, 2023
Montréal – The Front commun is sending the government an ultimatum as it announces a third series of strike days from December 8 to 14 inclusively.
“This is our last series of strike days before an unlimited general strike is called,” said CSN first vice-president François Enault, CSQ president Éric Gingras, FTQ president Magali Picard and APTS president Robert Comeau, speaking on behalf of the Front commun at a press briefing on Tuesday morning. “Our announcement is an indication that we’re serious and that we’re determined to reach a settlement before the holidays. We are always willing to negotiate, but let’s be clear: we’re going to keep up the pressure and maintain our strategy to build up our actions as a crescendo. We’re doing this together as one, speaking with one voice as the Front commun.”
With 420,000 members in health care, social services, schools, and CEGEPs on strike for seven days, the Front commun notes that this would be the longest public-sector strike in 50 years.
“Everyone knows that our working conditions are unacceptable, our workload is too heavy, and what we do on a daily basis is not sufficiently recognized,” said the union leaders. “Yes, pay is an issue, and yes, it needs to be raised. But all of the working conditions in our public systems need to be improved.” They also emphasized the fact that Quebecers support workers in public systems such as schools, CEGEPs, and health and social services.
“Our members were very aware of this on the picket lines during our three days of strike action last week,” said the Front commun spokespersons. “Something is happening in Québec, and the momentum is there – for our public systems, for workers, for services, and for Quebecers. At this point in our contract talks, moving at a snail’s pace is no longer sufficient. It’s time to turn on the motor, give the appropriate mandates, and reach a settlement at all of the bargaining tables. Everything is in place. Unions belonging to the Front commun have even convened their decision-making bodies in the first days of the week of December 18 in order to take stock of negotiations and make sure they have a way of landing if they need it.”
The Front commun submitted a request for conciliation on November 16 that has led to some degree of movement. The parties have undertaken to explain their point of view and clarify their positions. Front commun teams welcome this change at the bargaining table, but there is still a need to maintain the pressure and keep on mobilizing so that a concrete settlement can be reached.
The Front commun has always wanted to settle before the holidays, and the mandate given by its members says that it can use strike action according to what is needed at the bargaining table. The final series of strike days will take place according to that logic, but it is the unions’ last warning. “If contract talks continue, the government will have to take the blame for the consequences of its inertia, and it will face the massive mobilization of our 420,000 members,” said union leaders, noting that the Front commun’s mandate to call an unlimited general strike at the appropriate time is a very strong one, approved by a vote of over 95%.
For more information about current contract talks: frontcommun.org.