Poor motivation of the Common Front in the middle of negotiations

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Poor motivation of the Common Front in the middle of negotiations

As it was arranged with the person in charge during this period of renegotiation of collective agreements for state employees, I have not seen a report from the Institute of Statistics of Quebec that came to this point!

At 9 am Thursday morning, the Institute of Statistics of Quebec (ISQ) released its many annual reports Employee wages – State and evolution compared to 2023 in which he said that: “Employees of the Quebec administration have a salary and total wages lower than other employees in Quebec.” ISQ calculated that the pay gap for “other employees” was 16.6% and that the overall pay gap amounted to 7.4%.

At the same time that the ISQ revealed the explosive content of its report, that is, at 9 am on Thursday, the Common Front of 400,000 state employees issued a press release in which it used the ISQ report to encourage the government Legault. then make this financial gap to other employees.

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“The data from the Institute of Statistics of Quebec (ISQ) is clear: we must close the wage gap between public service workers and other Quebec employees. The CAQ government must offer a catch-up, otherwise the lack of workers will worsen,” said the spokesmen of the Common Front François Enault, first vice-president of the CSN, Éric Gingras, president of the CSQ, Magali Picard, president of the FTQ, and Robert Comeau, president of APTS.

And they added in their press release: “These data revealed in the ISQ report confirm the importance of the catch-up required within the framework of the negotiations. We demand the continuation of our purchasing power, but also need to benefit from development. We could not be clearer: the survival of the public service is at stake. The government lacks ambition as an employer.”

CHANGES TO WHOM EXACTLY?

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It is important to note here that this ISQ study compares, for the same jobs, the compensation of employees in the Quebec administration (public service, education, health and social services) with employees working in the federal government , municipalities with more than 25,000 inhabitants, state corporations and businesses with 200 or more employees. In particular, teachers were excluded from the study.

In terms of salaries, our state employees are lower than all “other employees”. Here are the salary gaps with:

  • Municipal employees: -27.6%
  • Federal employees: -20.9%
  • Employees of state corporations: -21.3%
  • Private sector union employees: -20.3%
  • Non-union employees in the private sector: -12.2%

On the other hand, if we talk about total compensation (salary, benefits, retirement plan), the conclusion changes a bit. In fact, state employees are the same as all “other non-unionized employees in Quebec”. They even outnumber non-unionized private sector employees by 1.8%.

Here are some “total pay” gaps between state employees and:

  • Municipal employees: -36.0%
  • Federal employees: -17.2%
  • Employees of state corporations: -19.6%
  • Private sector union employees: -12.7%
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In light of the ISQ report, employees in the Quebec public and parapublic services are clearly less well paid than employees in other public sectors and unionized employees in the private sector.

There is, however, an important catch. When ISQ compared the wages of state employees to private sector employees, it did so in companies with 200 employees or more.

However, in Quebec, almost two-thirds (65%) of private sector employees work in small businesses with 1 to 99 employees. The majority of these 1.8 million workers in Quebec in the private sector are certainly less well paid than state employees.

It is a shame that ISQ ignores these many workers in its advocacy in favor of public and parapublic service employees in Quebec.