Negotiations with the public sector: towards a deal next week

temps-presse-negociations-entre-gouvernement(Quebec) Everything is in place for an agreement next week, between the Quebec government and the unions representing its 550,000 employees.

An evening meeting convened yesterday had to begin the final stretch of negotiations.

In Quebec City, the Cabinet will hold a special meeting after question period today.

The Government met just before leaving for Paris a first Prime Minister Philippe Couillard – he will return Monday, but will fly again Friday, December 5th to attend the climate conference. It will therefore be in Quebec next week with the objective of participating in the conclusion of an agreement with the public sector. Now, no one in Quebec speaks the script of a special law to decree the working conditions of government employees.

Today’s meeting should be an opportunity to take stock with all the ministers on the negotiations. All sectoral tables – is considered a healthy fifty as in education – yesterday had the mandate to accelerate discussions for a blitz that will last all weekend. The objective is to reach an agreement by Sunday night, by Monday.

Whole sections of employer requests have already fallen on the side of the first nurse, then in the student-teacher ratios in education. Recently, most of the employers’ demands for health has been put aside.

Time also press for unions. The Common Front shows signs of fatigue; teachers CSQ members in Champlain, on the South Shore of Montreal, oppose more and more openly in the days of costly walkout. Union sources confide that CSQ had little choice to move in 2016 days of strike announced for December in the outset. The additional $ 80 million announced for the education sector by Minister Carlos Leitao also aim to stabilize the climate with teachers.

Like many excavation is already done “exploratory” of the employees’ side, the challenge of the next few days will be to reach agreement on the proposed changes with Quebec about the pension plan. Quebec wants to increase from 60 to 62 years the minimum age for accession to retire without actuarial penalties; he extended the deadline from 2017 to 2019. The trade union confederations do not seem willing to make concessions on retirement.

“This must be set in the coming days, there is still a week to hear,” do we entrust the union side. The plants have announced a general strike of the public sector for December 9th. However, exploratory discussions at the central table are sufficiently advanced so that Quebec can count on a comprehensive agreement before the National Assembly adjourns for the holidays, next Friday.

At Treasury Board, it was confirmed that “people are busy and it is hoped a negotiated agreement by Christmas,” but refused to comment more hasty scenarios. “Unions are openness, then one is in a phase of intensification of work at the bargaining table. And in this context, the government is willing to give a chance to the runner, and it is in this process then we are now. I will say no more. It is intensifying, “stated yesterday the president of the Treasury Board, Martin Coiteux.

By agreement

The decision to accelerate sectoral discussions comes from an agreement between the government and central, we are assured. Quebec should shortly submit a new proposal likely pay significantly bring the parties. On the union side, the central need an offer that would eliminate annual wage freeze – the current proposal to Quebec over five years, is a year to zero, followed by three 1%, and finally another gel for last year.

Last week, the unions, which demanded 13.5% over three years originally came back with a cons-proposal of about 9% over three years, or 2.9%, 2% and 2% per year and a reserve for the increased cost of living. The government had revised its offer, arguing essentially a year its three annual increases of 1%, leaving a gel for the first and final year of a five-year contract.

On the wage front, Quebec as a “scenario” a lump sum payment in the first two years of the collective agreement, a solution which, because it is not integrated with the pay scales, has much less impact for public funds. It evokes a budget of about 200 million, which represents around 0.5% of payroll. No way for Quebec to reduce the duration of its proposal, a maneuver that could sweep under the carpet the last year of gel.

The government is also ready to pay the bill to remove the irritants of a new salary scale to reflect salary relativity. The unions have worked extensively in these calculations; this component is a powerful incentive in favor of an agreement, the equivalent of a 2.3% increase per year. This revaluation implies an injection of 550 million from Quebec, but if the vast majority of unionized earn foreign exchange, about 18 000 people would see their salaries cut. Quebec has already said that he agreed to “improve the model” for all to retain their acquired, which results in an additional invoice of twenty million.

– With Tommy Chouinard

Key dates in the last negotiations with the public sector
October 29, 2014

The unions file their applications for the next round of negotiations: salary increases totaling 13.5% under a three-year agreement. “A big bite to swallow,” warns Martin Coiteux.

December 16th, 2014

Québec files its requests for changes to pension plans. The minimum age to avoid actuarial penalty from 60 to 62 years from 2017. The actuarial penalty from 4 to 7.2% and the pension calculation is made on the last eight years, instead of five.

Wage deals include an agreement of five years, two years of wage freeze followed by three years with 1% increase.

The September 23, 2015

Interprofessional Health Federation, a trade union organization representing nurses, left the negotiating table in protest against requests “inconsistent” of the government.

On October 2, 2015

Nurses return to the negotiating table with assurances regarding retention bonuses and training.

October 3, 2015

Thousands of union members, 150,000 according to organizers, participating in a demonstration in Montreal to hasten the renewal of collective agreements.

October 9, 2015

The Common Front Strikes unveils its schedule: rotating walkouts region first. Strikes 24 hours as of October 26. A second wave, this time for two days, on 9 and 10 November. Finally, three-day strike, on 1, 2 and 3 December, a threat yesterday postponed to 9 December.

October 15, 2015

Quebec abandons significant demands on education, the teacher / pupil ratios: the “major irritants” disappear, central suitable.

November 5, 2015

The Treasury Board made new offers: a contract of five years, starting with a gel year, three years 1% increase and ending on a final year of gel.

November 6, 2015

Trade unions reject the employer’s offer.

November 23, 2015

Quebec abandon most of its requests to the sectoral table of Health.

November 26, 2015

The government and central representatives ask their sectoral tables to carry out a blitz of negotiations to reach an agreement next Monday.

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