QUEBEC CITY – Quebec has issued an ultimatum to public workers holding out on a collective agreement.
The FSSS-CSN represents over 110,000 public workers in health care and social services. It has been negotiating with the government since the fall of 2014.
This week, this federation rejected the agreement, saying the deal doesn’t treat all of its members the same and comes up short when inflation is considered.
“Between 2003 and 2015, inflation increased 30 per cent more than our salaries. Now when we look at the agreement on the table, most of our members—probably around 90 per cent—are going to lose once again,” Jeff Begley, FSSS president said.
The FSSS is part of the Common Front. In December, three out of the four federations, or 70 per cent of public sector unions in the province, reached agreements in principal.
The minister in charge of the public union negotiations, Sam Hamad, says the government has done everything possible to reach an agreement. The Treasury Board president declined an interview Friday, but issued a statement, which read in part:
“Last December, the government enhanced its offer. Several meetings took place to attempt to find a middle ground. We have always negotiated in good faith. I invite today the FSSS to display good faith in reconsidering this offer.”
However, the federation is calling for another solution: a third-party negotiator.
“We’re asking for a conciliator to be in this negotiation,” Begley said.
Hamad also issued the same ultimatum to the FAE, Montreal’s largest teacher’s union, giving them until Monday to sign the agreement.