VOLUME 10 No. 11 | DECEMBER 1, 2020

Sounding the alarm

Last Wednesday, the APTS-FIQ alliance joined other unions representing Québec’s 500,000 public sector employees to carry out joint visibility actions near the Jacques-Cartier bridge (in Montréal) and on Parliament Hill (in Québec City). The goal was to sound the alarm on the current state of public services. All of the unions are criticizing the government for not having tabled acceptable offers, almost eight months after collective agreements have come to an end for personnel in health and social services, education, and the public service. These employees, of course, are regularly thanked by Premier Legault at each of his press briefings. The Treasury Board is also sticking to its unacceptable positions on intersectoral matters such as pay, pension plans, parental rights, and regional disparities.

An opening for sectoral demands?

In terms of sectoral demands, key issues for the APTS are work overload, attracting and retaining personnel, and the health and safety of its members. In a virtual General Council this week, your delegates will be analyzing the results of consultations recently carried out in your workplaces. Although the FIQ’s Provincial Council recently rejected an agreement in principle on sectoral matters, the fact that the government reached this agreement with the FIQ indicates a certain willingness to consider union demands.

The wage gap is increasing

Figures published by the ISQ (Institut de la statistique du Québec) on November 26 show that over the past year, the wage gap has become even wider between workers employed in the Québec public service – we are part of this group – and other Québec workers. Between 2019 and 2020, the gap in overall compensation rose from 6.2% to 9.2%, and remuneration now stands at -7.5% for professionals and -8.4% for technicians. To narrow the gap, the APTS, in alliance with the FIQ, is suggesting a 7.4% catch-up pay increase. The government is in no position to deny the relevance of this measure.

Professional orders respond to mental health funding

Nine professional orders have signed a letter to Minister Carmant, asking for a meeting to make sure the expertise of their professionals is used to support Quebecers’ psychological health. In a context where Premier Legault has acknowledged that “people working in mental health are not paid as well as those working in the private sector”, the APTS condemns the government’s decision to purchase services from the private sector. To solve the problem of staff shortages, we need to enhance professional autonomy and abolish the unfair wage gap experienced by professionals in the health and social services system.

The Laurent Commission releases its preliminary report

The CSDEPJ (special commission on the rights of children and youth protection) released a series of findings and orientations on Monday, a few months before it is due to present its final report. Commission president Régine Laurent acknowledged the need to improve conditions of practice for youth workers, even mentioning the distress these workers are experiencing, and uttered a pithy judgment on the Barrette reform. The Commission also put forward a “recommendaction” to create a provincial director of youth protection; a similar proposal is found in the APTS brief. See our press release for more information.

Take action online: tag a male ally!

As part of the 12-day campaign to end violence against women, the Québec federation of women’s shelters (Fédération des maisons d’hébergement) is launching a campaign asking men who are women’s allies to be part of the solution and help eradicate this problem. Joining the campaign is easy and quick. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Share videos on your social media, via Facebook  and Twitter.
  2. Tag male allies around you (#TagueUnAllié) and invite them to tag other men.
  3. Encourage men around you to sign the Manifeste des hommes alliés.

APTS male allies were already showing their support at the 2019 convention, as seen in this very meaningful video.

Petition to protect our social safety net

Québec’s next budget will have a major impact on our collective ability to get through this crisis (and the next ones). Our government needs to know that we demand a firm commitment to social justice and tax justice. Quebecers have suffered enough as a consequence of budget cuts to public services and social programs.

The APTS encourages you to take part in initiatives to strengthen our social safety net (#filetsocial), and to sign the petition launched by the Coalition Main rouge (in French).

A green plan without ambition

On November 16, the Legault government tabled a Green Economy Plan characterized by its utter lack of ambition. The plan’s objectives reach only 42% of our targets for reducing greenhouse gases, and the means it adopts will probably be insufficient. In the fight against climate change, half-measures are no longer appropriate. When will we see a shift to genuinely green policies? Read an interesting analysis from IRIS (Institut de recherche et d’informations socioéconomiques; in French).

2020 pay equity maintenance: new deadline for survey

The deadline to fill out the online survey on changes in your job between January 1, 2016, and December 22, 2020, has been extended to January 22, 2021.