(QUEBEC) A first agreement with a major public sector group was reached last night. Quebec Interprofessional Health Federation (FIQ) agreed with the sectoral table, a conditional agreement to imminent discussions on wages and retirement.
With its 66,000 members, mainly nurses, the FIQ is the first large group to agree on non-monetary clauses with the government. Other sectoral agreements were concluded this week, a dozen in all, but they were limited to much smaller groups, including school support staff, affiliated with the FTQ.
Two important points
The agreement will soon be submitted to the authorities. According to information obtained by La Presse, two points stand out. Quebec has agreed to raise full-time jobs ratios for various job categories. For example, so far, the proportion of full-time nurses could be as low as 50%; the bar will be raised to 52%. The nursing full-time positions could be limited to one third of the workforce (34%); it will increase the proportion to 50%. Finally, respiratory therapists were assured of full-time jobs for 45% of the workforce; the bar will be raised to 54%.
Another provision agreed between the FIQ and Quebec affects the number of nurses per patient in services. Pilot projects will be implemented. So far, there was no formal ratio, except in intensive care and obstetrics.
The progress with the nurses ended a long saga. Front unusual, nurses had left the negotiating table noisily protesting against the thinness of government tenders. They demanded the retention bonuses that would reduce the government as well as the recognition of the hours spent in training as time worked.
The Minister of Health, Gaétan Barrette, had to put their hands in the dough and make a personal commitment without the green light of the Treasury Board.
This first agreement with a major group will put pressure on other unions still under discussion at the sectoral tables. In terms of education, it was argued against by the pace had slowed, yesterday. The Prime Minister Philippe Couillard has left Quebec to Paris last night and will not return until later next week. The Autonomous Federation of Teachers announced release days for 30,000 teachers in the region of Montreal as of December 9.