(Quebec) Quebec must quickly reach an agreement with public sector employees if it wants to avoid a “major social crisis,” believes Pascal Paradis, the PQ MP for Jean-Talon.
He participated in a questioning in the Blue Salon on Friday with Labor Minister Kateri Champagne-Jordan on the issue of labor shortages.
Mr. Paradis said that this phenomenon can be curbed, and that everything is a matter of political choices. He criticized the Legault government’s decision to cut taxes at a cost of 9.2 billion.
“The money is where the government chooses to put it,” Mr. Paradis said. Quebecers say there is a labor shortage, especially in the education sector. Fix it! »
The 420,000 members of the Joint Front of Trade Unions will hold a one-day strike next Monday. Nurses from the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ) will leave their posts on November 8 and 9.
Unless an agreement is reached with the government, 65,000 teachers in the Federation for Independent Education (FAE) will begin an indefinite general strike on November 23.
“Do [travailleurs] Count enough to […] To offer them the conditions they deserve in order to reduce the problem of labor shortages? », Mr Paradis asked on Friday.
According to him, a “major social crisis” is looming, as half a million state employees will strike next week. He stressed that “the ball is now in the government’s court.”
Minister Champagne-Jordan, who is not responsible for negotiations with the public sector, responded that she would send “the letter” to her colleague, Treasury Board President Sonia LeBel.
The unions described the offer they submitted last Sunday as “clearly insufficient.”
MI LeBel suggests a 10.3% salary increase over five years, plus a lump sum of $1,000 in the first year.
In addition, an amount equivalent to 3% is allocated to “government priorities,” meaning that the government is submitting its offer of 14.8% over a period of five years.
On Friday, Mr Paradis said he wanted to “debunk some myths about the government’s offer”.
“Our civil servants are paid less than similar people. The gap in the gross salary of Quebec workers with those at companies with 200 or more employees is 9.4% in 2021.”
“If we compare with other federal and municipal workers, we find that the gap is 27.5%,” the AKP MP insisted.
Moreover, “the government always says the supply is 14.8% on average. […] However, only 26% of workers currently interested will receive differentiated offers, up to 14.8%.
The truth is that 74% of the workers involved would receive a 10.3% raise. This means 2.06% annually less than the inflation rate.
He asserts that the government proposes to “impoverish” public sector employees, which “does not attract or retain them.”
The Joint Front is demanding a three-year contract, either CPI plus 2% for the first year, or $100 a week, whichever is more beneficial to workers.
It then demands CPI plus 3% for the second year, and CPI plus 4% for the third year.
At a news gathering in Montreal on Friday afternoon, Prime Minister Francois Legault again defended his government’s offer, which he called “reasonable.”
“It’s true, it’s not the same increase for everyone,” he added. I think that if we want to better serve Quebecers, we should focus our increases, for example, among psychologists. […] “And the night nurses,” he said.
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