Union Locals Defend the Right of Health and Social Services' Workers to Vacations and Leaves

In an open letter published on May 15, Confederation of National Trade Unions (CSN) health and social services sector locals in Montreal and Laval warn the Quebec Premier that workers employed in these sectors are entitled to and urgently need their vacations and leaves. They have also placed him on notice not to cancel them through ministerial order. They further point out that sacrificing their vacations and leaves to sort out staff shortages will resolve nothing.

The letter reads:

"Mr. Premier,

"We have been alerted by several of our members concerned over the possibility that a ministerial order may prohibit or restrict their access to vacations. Since March 21, a ministerial decree has been in place that allows, amongst other things, managers in the health and social services network to cancel their staff''s leave and vacations, with some already beginning to proceed in this fashion. However, within the current circumstances in particular, vacations and leaves are an essential need for workers. Day after day, they devote themselves body and soul to their noble vocation. Without them, we will not survive the crisis.

"Many of them were already overworked prior to the pandemic. However, since the start of the crisis they have persevered, despite their exhaustion, in working under extremely difficult conditions, in particular in the Montreal and Laval regions. Many are on the verge of depression; others are considering resigning in light of the magnitude of the task at hand, with many already doing so.

"Sacrificing vacations and leaves to solve the shortage in staff resolves nothing. Far from it -- it risks creating even bigger problems such as the possibility of making fatigue-related errors, burnout, depression, multiple prolonged sick leaves, and even waves of resignations. There is a significant risk that we find ourselves in a situation of even greater staff shortages.

"Workers need these leaves and vacations. Do you want to support those you refer to as guardian angels? Then give them a break and let them regain their strength. All of Quebec society will be grateful to you for doing so."

The letter is signed by ten local union presidents and two CSN officers at the central and regional levels.

(Translated from original French by Workers' Forum)

This article was published in

Number 35 - May 19, 2020

Article Link:
Union Locals Defend the Right of Health and Social Services' Workers to Vacations and Leaves


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