The world of work in 2017: the minimum wage to$ 15 has captured the attention

Photo: Annik MH de Carufel Le Devoir
A demonstration calling for a minimum wage increase to$ 15 per hour is moved from station Lionel-Groulx metro station at Jarry park, in Montreal, in October.

The themes of the minimum wage to $ 15, and pension plans, both private and public, have captured the attention in the world of work in 2017. But, curiously, it is a payroll system defective which has the most to say about him.




Federal employees paid too much, not paid enough, not paid for several weeks. The fiasco of Phoenix, a payroll system that was supposed to allow the government of Canada to save, is not even on the eve of being settled. The auditor general Michael Ferguson said that, as at 30 June, the errors exceeded already $ 500 million on a payroll of $ 22 billion. And the 540 million forecast to solve the problems will not be sufficient.


The puzzle of Phoenix lies the human drama : workers anxious had health problems ; some have had to resort to employee assistance programs, some have had to mortgage their house.


Minimum wage


The fight for the minimum wage to $ 15 is not blown, both within the coalition 5-10-15 at the Federation des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ). A year ago, in congress, the imposing FTQ had made a “personal matter” for its 5,000 unions. And she has scored points in this chapter again this year, especially in January, when 4,000 students employees of the University of Montreal have obtained.


Because of the popular press and trade unions, and thanks to the economic upswing, the Québec government has increased the minimum wage more noticeable as it had done in recent years. Last may 1, he passed it paid $ 10.75 to 11.25 per hour.


Pension plans


The issue of public pension schemes is also back in the news, after the provinces were heard on an enhancement of the Canada pension Plan. At the outset, the Québec Finance minister, Carlos Leitão, had not wanted to follow the example of its counterparts. But finally, he pulled up behind them and announced, in November, the same increase in the Quebec pension Plan.

Photo: Sean Kilptarick The canadian Press
Carlos Leitão announced, in November, an increase in the Quebec pension Plan.

Thus, a pensioner who was paid a salary of $ 40,000 will receive a pension of 13 333 $ instead of $ 10,000, regardless of their province of residence.


Clauses of disparity


The question of the clauses of disparity of treatment has also been on the menu for 2017. It is a question of clauses which provide for a pension plan or insurance less generous for employees hired after a given date, in the same company. The employers argue that they act thus because of the growth of the costs of these plans, but the trade union organisations and groups representing young people see it as a form of discrimination that hits hardest on young workers.


It will have to wait to 2018 to find out how the government will proceed with this chapter.


Votes in the health


A result of the mergers of institutions in the health, it was necessary to take the votes of union certification. After a tough campaign of slamming, the votes took place at the beginning of the year to ensure that the affected workers will choose their union. And this is a real frozen that has suffered the CSN, who woke up with 22 700 members in the least, it was part confident. For the CSN, it was the biggest loss of members since 1972. Thousands of members with more moderate had then left it to found the CSD (Centrale des syndicats démocratiques).


And the two big winners of these votes in the health are the Federation interprofessional of the health (FIQ), which is increased from 62 000 to about 75 000 members — nurses, nursing assistants and the Alliance of professional and technical staff of the health and social services (APTS), which is then increased from 32 000 to 52 000 members — technologists, medical, physiotherapists and others.


These votes in health have left scars. It will be interesting to see what will happen at the next bargaining in the public sector, since the unions in the health no longer have the weight they had before, thus the same influence.


Head changes


The year 2017 has also been marked by changes in the presidency of trade union organizations. The president of the Federation interprofessional of the health, Régine Laurent, has taken his retirement and left the FIQ on the 1st of December. Nancy Bédard, who was vice-president, succeeded him.


Also, the president of the Centrale des syndicats démocratiques, François Vaudreuil, has retired after 43 years at the CSD, including 21 in the presidency. Luc Vachon succeeded him.