MARCH 10, 2020 | No. 4

March 31 will herald the end of our collective agreement. To mark this important date in our current contract talks, the APTS-FIQ alliance is joining with other unions representing employees in the public and parapublic sectors.

With the theme We’re sounding the alarm, unions from each institution are jointly raising the alarm at a specific time. Members of each union are invited to wear a sticker, challenging the employer and service-users to realize that public-sector employees urgently need working conditions that help them deliver quality health care and social services in a safe environment. In the public health and social services sector where employees are working themselves sick, the government’s dismissive contract proposals show its utter lack of commitment to help attract and retain personnel.

To launch this day of rank-and-file action, eight union spokespersons will meet at 8 am and hold a media briefing in front of the Treasury Board building. Together they will sound the alarm to show that Québec labour organizations are standing together in solidarity (even if there is no official common front) and are jointly calling on the government to reinvest in the employees who provide public services to the population.

See your local executive for further details!

First day without a contract, we can always dream!

On April 1, the APTS-FIQ alliance will take advantage of April Fools Day to mark the end of our collective agreements with a sardonic twist. Our alliance will mobilize locally under the theme of April Fools #poissond’avril. Information booths will be held at the major work sites and you’ll find plenty of fishy humour at all the sites! The alliance will also use these activities to raise our members’ awareness of current bargaining issues. Details will be available shortly.


Premium for psychologists

Unless the collective agreement indicates otherwise, the current working conditions will continue to apply until the new ones come into force. The agreement on the retention premium for psychologists is normally set to end on March 30, 2020. This date is not innocuous: setting the term so that the agreement ends the day before the collective agreement expires means that the repercussions of the agreement will not be extended during the period of collective bargaining.

In our first discussions with the Treasury Board at the bargaining table, we asked the government to continue to pay the premium during the negotiations so as not to create further problems in recruiting and retaining psychologists. And that’s not counting the negative impact that eliminating the premium would have on the accessibility and continuity of psychological services.

In our bargaining session on March 5, 2020, contrary to the information that is currently being presented in the media by other unions, the government representatives clearly told us that no decision has been made about this premium and they’re still thinking about it. We should receive an official response in about a week, and we’ll keep you posted.

It’s crucial that the government keep paying this premium during our contract talks, and we’ll continue to do what it takes to convince the government to enhance the premium and make it accessible to all psychologists in the public sector.

Premium for working with clients who have serious behaviour disorders and for working in nursing homes, and budget for the development of professional practice

It is also crucial that the government continue with the lump-sum payments that are due to end on the same date. The lump-sum payment for employees working with clients who have serious behaviour disorders (Letter of Agreement No. 17) and the one for employees working with clients in residential and long-term care centres (Letter of Agreement No. 18) will no longer be made as of March 31, 2020. The same thing applies to the budget for the development of professional practice. These amounts are a form of recognition of working conditions that are particularly important as measures to attract and retain personnel in public health and social services.

In a context in which labour shortages are becoming increasingly critical, the reluctance of the Legault government to continue paying such premiums and this budget sends a very ill-considered message. It could have consequences on service delivery for a vulnerable population, due to a lack of personnel.

It’s important to know that our demands are not limited to preserving the premiums and the budget for the development of professional practice.

We hope to have good news from the government representatives at our next bargaining session. At very least, we hope that the current conditions are upheld during the period of negotiations, which would be “innovative,” in the words of Mr. Dubé.

How do negotiations work?

Why are we still in negotiations? APTS bargaining co-ordinator Isabelle Bourret explains the difference between national and local bargaining.