What the Government Calls "New Offers"

Wage increases that are being proposed by the government remain the same -- five per cent over three years (1.75 per cent, 1.75 per cent and 1.5 per cent). The government is adding a lump sum of up to $400 million for recurring salary increases, providing that the inflation rate exceeds five per cent and that the government's forecast economic growth is met. This is not a wage increase and it does nothing to address the critical problem of retention and attraction of workers into the public services, therefore it does nothing to solve the crisis in the public services.

The Quebec government is attempting to divert from this central problem with a series of measures which are meant to sound good but are themselves deceptive.

As an example, as far as nurses are concerned, it is proposing to add about 5,000 full-time equivalent staff (FTEs) deployed in the network. But the conditions are not there for workers to want to take full-time positions because of the rule by decree that requires mandatory overtime and having to forego statutory holidays and other kinds of leave when working full time.

In terms of measures for elementary and secondary teachers, the government is entertaining some nice-sounding proposals such as increased autonomy for educators or implementing measures to promote educational success, but it avoids a key demand put forward by teachers to improve learning conditions, and now also to reduce the spread of COVID-19, which is the reduction of class sizes.

This is nice-sounding discourse to avoid meeting the demands and the needs of the workers and of the public, starting with a negotiated real wage increase that is included in the collective agreement, that promotes retention and attraction of personnel.

This article was published in

April 14, 2021 - No. 28

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