Public-sector contract talks | Front commun demonstration in front of the National Assembly
November 23, 2023
Québec City – On the fourth day of strike action for 420,000 workers belonging to the Front commun, a demonstration including strikers, citizens and families from the Québec City area is taking place today in front of the National Assembly. The demonstrators are demanding that the government finally put reasonable offers on the table in order to reach an agreement that will improve the quality of public services and make them more accessible.
“Close to 600,000 people are striking today across Québec,” said CSN first vice-president François Enault, CSQ president Éric Gingras, FTQ president Magali Picard and APTS president Robert Comeau. “We’re making history with the biggest walkout in North America since 1983. This movement is speaking loud and clear, and it’s a movement for everyone. We’re speaking for services for Quebecers. We’re speaking for a way of supporting the development of children and taking care of those who are old, sick or vulnerable, and we’re speaking for women, who make up over 75% of the people providing services in public systems.”
After an insulting offer from the government on October 29 and a first day of strike action serving as a warning on November 6, the Front commun asked for the intervention of a conciliator last week in order to facilitate exchanges with the government at the central bargaining table. “We hope this will create some kind of movement at the table – we certainly need it,” said the union leaders.
Quebecers support public service workers
Meanwhile, a SOM survey published yesterday morning revealed that seven Quebecers out of ten support public service workers. “The government is trying to turn Quebecers against us, but the fact is that they support us,” said the Front commun spokespersons. “The government needs to understand that the status quo in our public systems is untenable. And yet, Minister LeBel is still making offers that will make us poorer. A catchup pay increase, and protecting workers’ purchasing power, are legitimate priorities. If they were justified for MNAs, then they’re also justified for the women and men employed in health and social services, schools, and higher education.”
Faced with the government’s unwillingness to move at the bargaining tables, Front commun members will keep on ratcheting up the pressure. The unions making up the Front commun nonetheless reiterate that they are ready to negotiate intensively at any time to reach a negotiated agreement that will be satisfactory for their 420,000 members, 95% of whom voted in favour of a mandate for an unlimited general strike preceded by strike action days.
The Front commun
Together, the CSN, CSQ, FTQ and APTS represent over 420,000 public-sector workers who are employed by the Québec government in schools, health and social services, and higher education.
Source : CSN, CSQ, FTQ and APTS