Update on extending premiums
You may have heard in the media that the government has made an offer to unions to extend premiums for psychologists and personnel working in CHSLDs or with people who have severe behavioural problems.
The government brought the proposal to the bargaining table following an initial extension of the premiums to September 30, 2020. That date is fast approaching, and the government is now suggesting that premiums could be extended to March 30, 2023, which is the day before the end of the collective agreement currently under negotiation.
There’s more here than meets the eye. The government’s apparent generosity conceals a skilled manoeuvre. It looks more like bullying than a true commitment to solving the problems of attracting and retaining employees in areas where labour shortages are acute. The government’s offer is subject to conditions, and these conditions are unacceptable to the APTS. Specifically, in order to get the extension, we have to withdraw all other demands related to the premiums.
In addition, the government will require a working committee to assess the impact of the premiums, on the basis of indicators. The committee will be expected to finish its work before the next collective agreement ends in 2023. This will do nothing to solve severe problems of employee attraction and retention – problems that the government, once again, is choosing to ignore.
We won’t be falling into this trap or giving in to bullying. We’ll keep doing our work at the bargaining table to make sure at least that premiums are maintained until an agreement in principle is reached.
We’ll keep you posted.
Your bargaining team