(Montreal) The all-union Common Front is outraged that certain bonuses for public sector workers will expire on September 30 while collective bargaining negotiations with Quebec are still underway.
These include, for example, retention bonuses for psychologists, bonuses for nursing staff who have full-time evening, night or rotation positions, and bonuses for certain skilled worker occupations.
The four trade union organizations that form the common front, namely CSQ, CSN, APTS and FTQ, criticize the government for refusing to extend these bonuses beyond September 30th. They would have liked these bonuses to be maintained while negotiations on the renewal of the collective agreements continue.
These premiums can amount to “thousands of dollars per year for thousands of people in health, social services and education,” the joint front points out.
For her part, the President of the Treasury Board, Sonia LeBel, argues that the bonuses should end on March 31, coinciding with the collective agreements, and that this was agreed as such in the negotiation with the trade union organizations of the 2020-2023 collective agreements.
The minister emphasizes that she has already agreed to an extension of the premiums twice, after March 31 and then after the month of June.
The Common Front responds that only certain bonuses should end on March 31st, while others should end on September 30th.
CSQ, CSN, APTS and FTQ reiterate that public sector workers are “counting on this to buy their food and pay their bills.” “The government using this to score points at the negotiating table is unacceptable.”
But the minister replies that these bonuses have to be negotiated with the trade union organizations. They can then take different forms depending on the priorities and goals that the parties want to achieve.
“I tell them it’s no surprise to them. These are bonuses whose end date was agreed with the unions in the collective agreements and everyone knew that these bonuses would end in March 2023. We offered and extended it twice as a sign of good faith,” reiterated Minister LeBel.
This decision comes at a time when the Common Front has toughened its tone and has just announced that it will demand an indefinite general strike mandate from its 420,000 members.
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