Unions in the health and social services system reacted positively, but expressed some irritation, over the government’s decision to extend to May 14 the “COVID premiums” that were to end on April 16.  According to the FSSS-CSN, FSQ-CSQ, FIQ and FIQP, APTS, CUPE, SQEES-FTQ, FP-CSN and SPGQ, this confirms, on the one hand, that these premiums had to be maintained until a transition plan leading to sustainable solutions was achieved and, on the other hand, cooperation and predictability are required to attract and retain personnel.

“How unfortunate it is that the possibility of a sixth wave was needed to get the government to correct the mistake it made by cancelling these premiums, which, though not perfect, were needed immediately to prevent resignations and service interruptions. It’s also regrettable that we were informed and not consulted on this development. We’ll keep repeating as long as we have to that doing things unilaterally in piecemeal fashion produces inconsistent results. If action is required in terms of a plan, reconstruction, durability and sustainability, we must be included. Our members absolutely must have their say,” said the representatives of the FSSS-CSN, FSQ-CSQ, FIQ and FIQP, APTS, CUPE, SQEES-FTQ, FP-CSN and SPGQ. 

“We’re demanding that an equitable solution be negotiated with the unions. Bear in mind that these premiums cause major disparities between various categories of employees and that they’re even counterproductive in certain cases. We therefore reiterate our call for transitional measures that are fair and will point us in the right direction toward achieving the ultimate aim, i.e., that the health and social services system becomes an employer of choice and that it provide the public with quality care and services they deserve,” the unions added.