Labour federations and the government of Qub0065c arrived at an agreement in principle last week, after an intensive round of bargaining that began on February 21. In essence, this agreement will renew the contract for a year, until the end of June 2003. This extension will be accompanied by a 2% pay-scale adjustment.
The 2% adjustment will apply as of April 1, 2003. To this permanent pay increase will be added a lump-sum payment equivalent to 2% for the months of April, May and June 2003, to be paid with every paycheque. We should point out that when a new round of bargaining starts up in 2003, these new pay parameters (+2%) could also be subject to upward adjustments.
One of the benefits of this settlement is that the new members who joined our ranks during the last raiding period will be able to take advantage of CUPE’s insurance plans (which are more advantageous and less costly), without having to wait until the period extending the contract is up. On the other hand, this new agreement stipulates that there will be no new raiding period in 2002.
The agreement directly affects about 28,000 CUPE members, who are mainly in education, health care and social services. For public agencies whose contracts expire on June 30, 2002, the unions will have the option of deciding whether or not to extend the contract for a year. In the coming weeks and months, the detailed content of the agreement will be submitted to all members covered by these negotiations. In the final instance, the decision to accept or reject the agreement is theirs.
Gilles Gigur0065, co-ordinator of the public sector unions for the QFL and Assistant Regional Director of CUPE, thinks that, “The conclusion of this agreement will make it possible to devote all our energies to the pay equity issue in a pre-electoral context where we know that the PQ needs women’s votes.”
The PCSA conference is still on
The Provincial Council of Social Affairs conference planned for mid-March is still on. We know that this important meeting of our unions in the healthcare sector was intended to help us prepare for bargaining. Even if the members accept this agreement, a whole host of work nonetheless needs to be done, if only to take stock of how the collective agreement has been applied in the past few years.