Following last Friday’s meeting between the Common Front and Treasury Board President Monique Gagnon-Tremblay, spokespersons for the Common Front - Lucie Martineau of the Secrétariat intersyndical des services publics (SISP), Claudette Carbonneau of the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN) and Michel Arsenault of the Québec Federation of Labour (FTQ) - have asked the government to step up negotiations and give some tangible signals so that the talks can move forward.
They stress that “with just thirty-eight days remaining, everything must be done to try to reach a deal by the time the collective agreements expire on March 31. However, it is clear that, if this is going to happen, a serious change of course is required on the part of the government.”
The Common Front unions want to intensify the discussions in order to ensure progress. They do not want to see negotiations bogged down because of a few sticking points at the sectoral tables.
The unions have agreed on a deadline of March 20 for a new appraisal stage in the negotiations. Until then, they will make every effort to resolve the impasse at the negotiating tables and will negotiate diligently and in good faith.
In the workplace, employees in the public and parapublic sectors are displaying a sticker to remind the government that “Time is running out” and to show solidarity with the 3,000 representatives who have gathered in Québec City during the negotiations.
The Common Front is asking for a three-year employment contract with salary increases of 3.75% per year, which would protect the workers’ purchasing power and narrow the wage gap between public sector employees and other Québec workers. The union organizations believe that the government’s proposals are insufficient, because they would leave state employees on the road to impoverishment and exclude any possibility for salary catch-up or participation in collective wealth.
The Common Front includes all the major unions in the public and parapublic sectors in Québec, including unions grouped together in the SISP (CSQ, FIQ, SFPQ, SPGQ and APTS), the CSN (FSSS, FEESP, FNEEQ and FP) and the FTQ (CUPE, SQEES, COPE and UES).