The day after the massive Common Front demonstration that drew tens of thousands of union members in Montreal yesterday, it is the turn of members of the FIQ-Syndicat interprofessionnel de Lanaudière to make their voices heard.
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Since 9 a.m. this morning, nurses, respiratory therapists and other medical professionals have gathered in the parking lot of Prime Minister François Legault’s constituency office in L’Assomption in a 24-hour militant operation.
250 of them will take turns running at night to improve their working conditions.
This is to show solidarity with their colleagues across Quebec who work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
While the collective bargaining agreement is being renegotiated, the government’s offers of a 9% increase over five years and the proposed lump sum of $1,000 fail.
“Every day we all know colleagues who leave, work somewhere else or even change jobs completely and say that they can no longer withstand the pressure,” says Marie-Chantal Bédard, President of FIQ-Lanaudière. “Apart from being in healthcare and improving our conditions, it’s also about wanting to feel good about what we do.”
The union members we met hope for better salaries, but their demands go beyond that.
They particularly regret that the ministry wants to transfer them from one department to another at will. For example, have her work in the maternity ward one day and the emergency room the next day.
Professionals are concerned about the quality of patient care.
“When we leave work and haven’t done everything, we feel like it’s our fault,” says a union member who met journalist Audrey Folliot. “We tell ourselves, ‘I’m not good enough, I’m not fast enough, I’m not well enough’, the truth is I only have 2 hands, 8 hours and multiple patients.”
Health Minister Christian Dubé’s office was asked to respond, saying it was important for the network’s employees to be proud and happy.
“The employees of the health network do important work, we are aware of that. “It is precisely for this reason that we have made significant suggestions to the unions, particularly regarding inconvenient working hours,” it said in an email. “In particular, we propose to give nursing staff the choice in advance to take on unfavorable shifts (particularly on weekends) and receive more than attractive bonuses for doing so.”
Result? “More predictability, lower TSO, better work-life balance,” supports the Office of the Secretary of Health.
Tomorrow morning more colleagues will join the movement. A 1.7 km solidarity march from Outaragavisipi Park to the Prime Minister’s constituency office must begin at around 8:30 a.m. before the president of the FIQ of Lanaudière delivers a speech.