The Fraternité des travailleurs et travailleuses du préhospitalier du Québec (FTPQ), which represents some 600 paramedics who work for 18 different employers and are scattered throughout six regions in Quebec, demonstrated this morning in front of the offices of the Minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé.
Their collective agreement expired on March 31, 2020. Due to an impasse at the bargaining table with the Quebec government, these members voted in favour of strike mandates in 2021.
Talks have bogged down over wages. The paramedics are demanding an increase of 3 per cent for each year of the contract, while the government has countered with only 2 per cent. In addition, they are calling for changes to pay classifications in their wage structure and a re-evaluation of their job class.
The members are also seeking mechanisms to ensure that they can take their meal break during their shift, improvements to their pension plan, a cut to the cost of group insurance and the discontinuation of 24-hour on-call duties.
The union has noted and is concerned about the increasing numbers of employees who are leaving the profession to work in other fields.
“The work done by our paramedics is dangerous, stressful and demanding. Since wages are not commensurate with the difficulties they encounter during the course of their numerous duties, they prefer to retrain and go into other fields, causing staff shortages. This affects both the teams and the response times during emergency calls and the quality of interventions,” said David Gagnon, vice-president of the FTPQ (CUPE 7300).