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Public-sector contract talks: “Together as one” | The Front commun tables its demands

The Front commun presented its demands to the Treasury Board today, at the start of a new round of bargaining talks for the renewal of public-sector collective agreements.

“Our message to the government is clear,” said CSN vice-president François Enault, CSQ president Éric Gingras, APTS president Robert Comeau and FTQ president Daniel Boyer as they emerged from the Treasury Board this morning. “We’re together as one, and we’re demanding pay and working conditions reflecting the value of the services we provide for Quebecers.”

“Today is an important moment for the 420,000 workers we represent in education, health, social services and higher education as we start the process of negotiating their work contracts,” said the union leaders. “Working conditions have gotten a lot worse over the years, and wages are now truly inadequate. Our priority is to provide quality services and contribute to Quebecers’ well-being. But there’s no way of doing this without resources – and without enough people to do the job.”

Defined through an extensive consultation process with union members, Front commun demands focus on achieving pay increases and protecting employees’ purchasing power through a permanent hedge against inflation.

Specifically, the Front commun pay demands are as follows:

  • For 2023: a $100-a-week increase for all employees OR application of a permanent annual indexation mechanism based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus a 2% increase, depending on which formula is the most beneficial.
  • For 2024: application of a permanent annual indexation mechanism based on the CPI, plus a 3% increase.
  • For 2025: application of a permanent annual indexation mechanism based on the CPI, plus a 4% increase.

In addition to pay, the Front commun is presenting demands relating to:

  • retirement,
  • parental rights,
  • regional disparities, and
  • group insurance.

Front commun unions represent women and men who take pride in their whole-hearted work, and as the unions point out, these workers are part of Quebecers’ everyday lives. Not a week goes by without some mention in the public space of their difficult working conditions or the labour shortage that is having a major impact on services provided for Quebecers.

“It’s time to take concrete action, and bargaining talks are the only way for us to move forward,” say union leaders. “Better working conditions and better pay are urgently needed. We hope these contract talks will be taken seriously – given our situation, they’re a serious matter. The ball is now in the government’s court.”

 The Front commun

The Front commun consists of four labour organizations – the CSN (Confédération des syndicats nationaux), CSQ (Centrale des syndicats du Québec), FTQ (Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec) and APTS (Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux) – that have come together for the 2023 public-sector bargaining talks. These organizations represent over 420,000 public-sector workers who are employed by the Québec government in education, health, social services, and higher education, and whose collective agreements are due to expire on March 31, 2023.

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