On strike until December 14, the common front submitted a counter-salary offer to the Legault government. The parties are expected to meet at the central negotiating table at 1 p.m.
Surrounded by strikers demonstrating around parliament, Common Front union leaders gave some details of their new proposal during a press scrum on Friday.
They only said that the common front is ready to sign collective agreements that will last more than three years. Regarding the need for a salary increase, we see some movement.
The vice president of the CSN, François Enault, maintains that the common front wants to protect the purchasing power of its 420,000 members and fill the gap identified in a report from the Institute of Statistics of Quebec (ISQ) between public employees in the Quebec. administration and others.
“We have some that need to be done, you know that, you see the ISQ. We are talking about 7% of the total wages, including the indexation clause. “That is what we are asking,” he said.
The initial demand of the common front, for three years, includes a 9% increase for catch-up, plus an increase linked to the consumer price index – the “indexation clause”, in general about 23%. It must be understood that the common front insists that we use the 2022 CPI – very high – while the government wants to consider inflation only from 2023, the first year of the next employment contracts.
On Thursday, Prime Minister François Legault said he was ready to improve his new offer of a salary increase of 12.7% over five years, presented on Wednesday.
The president of FTQ, Magali Picard, regretted that the government has not yet responded to the union’s submission made on Thursday. The central table will meet at 1 pm Friday, but the government has not formally confirmed its presence according to him.
In the sectoral tables, the progress of the negotiations is “variable geometry”, estimated the president of the CSQ, Éric Gingras. We need to speed up the pace to achieve results. Negotiators will try to move talks forward faster when they meet at select tables this week. According to François Enault, we are still far from the chance of a summit meeting with Prime Minister François Legault to resolve labor contracts due to the state of discussions at the sector tables.
Common Front says it is ready to settle negotiations before the holidays. Its bodies will meet on December 18 and 19 to stock up, one time according to their approval of a possible agreement. Failing an agreement, an indefinite general strike could be called early next year.
“This is the longest strike that has been seen in the public sector in 50 years. And that, unfortunately, the government of Legautl has to put that in its balance,” said the president of APTS, Robert Comeau.