Sectoral proposals filed on December 17:
from bad to worse
The government’s proposals on so-called sectoral matters, which form the bulk of the collective agreement and include conditions of professional practice, are just as disappointing and dismissive.
We filed demands proposing a series of specific measures designed to improve working conditions and make it easier to attract and retain personnel in public health and social services. The government was content to file vague and ambiguous proposals that once again postpone solutions to overcome the grave crisis that is traversing the public health and social services system, raising doubts about the government’s intentions.
We want concrete measures to reduce work overload, improve rules for training, and promote greater family/work/study balance. We also want to improve access to the various premiums that currently exist for work with certain clientele, to adjust the premiums’ conditions to reflect the realities of Class 4 personnel (in CHSLDs, critical care units, psychiatric units, etc.). The government hasn’t responded in any way to our demands filed on October 30, as it first wants to discuss a few of the issues it has identified.
We are experiencing a bona fide crisis in public health and social services. It has reached a point where eight professional orders* recently took the unprecedented step of going public to decry the working conditions and conditions of practice facing their members, who are also our members. The figures are enough to make us shudder: 49% of their members are quitting their jobs in public health and social services, and 25% are thinking about leaving their profession. Moreover, 57% find that service accessibility has declined since the Barrette reform.
Those first two figures alone should prompt the MSSS and the Québec government to react. Québec society can’t afford to sustain that kind of hemorrhaging. The third figure is just as serious, as the Barrette reform has eroded public health and social services to an unprecedented degree. How could Mr. Dubé disregard such a cry for help?
We know that major efforts have to be made to improve your working conditions, but it’s clear that the Legault government is totally disconnected from reality. Instead of taking prompt action to make it more attractive to work in health and social services, the government is offering conditions that completely miss the mark. There’s nothing in the document presented by the government that gives a boost or a ray of hope for professionals and technicians who are at the end of their rope.
The many discrepancies between Mr. Dubé’s public statements and what we find in these bargaining proposals illustrate just how far removed the government is from specific proposals that would improve working conditions and conditions of practice for health and social services professionals and technicians.
Urgent action is nonetheless required. The government has to stop procrastinating and shift into high gear. The longer it waits, the worse it gets in terms of declining health and social services, our members’ level of exhaustion, and the likelihood that they will leave.
The message driven home by our 56,000 APTS members is crystal clear: we’re done working ourselves sick! What we want is adequate pay and working conditions, no more, no less.
We’ll keep you posted on further developments. Hopefully you had a chance to rest and recharge over the holidays, as 2020 is not shaping up to be restful.