Union organizations responded positively to the Quebec government’s request to suspend negotiations for the renewal of public sector employee agreements until April 5, due to the COVID-19 crisis.
C ive unions in the public service – Alliance of professional and technical personnel of the Health and Social Services (APTS), interprofessional Health Federation of Quebec (FIS), Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN), Federation of Workers du Québec (FTQ) and Centrale des Syndicats du Québec (CSQ) – drafted a joint press release to say that they had agreed, with the Conseil du trésor, “to suspend negotiations for the time being, while maintaining the open communication channels ”.
During a meeting that took place on Sunday afternoon, these five unions say they have confirmed their “commitment to do everything to ensure that the people of Quebec obtain all the necessary services and that these services are provided under the conditions as safe as possible ”. However, they say they expect “that the government will support all workers in their efforts”. They also asked for the elimination of “all the constraints that could hinder the mobilization of those who will be in the field, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to render services to Quebecers”.
The CSQ had already indicated the day before that it did not oppose the request “given the current major crisis”.
Two other union organizations had already accepted the government’s request as early as Saturday: the Union of Professionals of the Government of Quebec (SPGQ), the Union of the Public and Parapublic Service of Quebec (SFPQ).
“It is more important now to ensure that the multiplication of the virus does not happen,” summarized the president of the SGPQ Line Lamarre in an interview with The Canadian Press. “We are not going to put pressure on a government which, I think, is also trying to do its best day by day. It’s still an exceptional situation. ”
In a statement sent to The Canadian Press on Saturday, the president of the Treasury Board Christian Dubé explained that he made this request “in order to allow us to focus on mitigating and controlling the impacts of the pandemic”.