February 23, 2024

La Ronge Northerner

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Public Sector Negotiation |  The General Front submitted a counter-offer of salary

Public Sector Negotiation | The General Front submitted a counter-offer of salary

(Québec) En grève jusqu’au 14 décembre, le front commun a soumis une contre-offre salariale au gouvernement Legault. Les parties devraient se réunir à la table centrale de négociation à 13 h.

Entourés de grévistes qui manifestaient autour du parlement, les chefs syndicaux du front commun ont donné peu de détails sur leur nouvelle proposition lors d’une mêlée de presse vendredi.

Ils se sont contentés de dire que le front commun est prêt à signer des conventions collectives d’une durée de plus de trois ans. Quant à la demande d’augmentations salariales, on décode un peu de mouvement.

Le vice-président de la CSN, François Enault, a soutenu que le front commun veut protéger le pouvoir d’achat de ses 420 000 membres et combler l’écart identifié par un rapport de l’Institut de la statistique du Québec (ISQ) entre les salariés de l’administration publique québécoise et les autres.

« On a un rattrapage [à faire], you know, you’ve seen ISQ. We are talking about 7% of gross wages and indexation rule. This is what we are asking,” he said.

Common Lead’s initial demand included a 9% catch-up increase over three years, plus an increase linked to the Consumer Price Index – the “index rule”, totaling about 23%. It must be understood that the Common Front insists we use the 2022 CPI – much higher – while the government wants to take inflation into account from 2023, the first year of the next employment contracts.

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On Thursday, Prime Minister François Legault said he was ready to extend his new offer of 12.7% pay rises over five years.

FTQ president Magali Pickard expressed regret that the government has yet to respond to a union submission made on Thursday. The central table will meet at 1 pm on Friday, but the government has not formally confirmed its presence.

Among the sectoral tables, Eric Gingras, head of the CSQ, assesses progress in the negotiations as “variable geometry”. We need to accelerate the pace to reach a conclusion. The negotiators will try to move talks forward quickly when they meet at select tables later this week. According to François Enault, we are still far from the moment of the summit with Prime Minister François Legault to settle the employment agreements due to the state of the discussions in the departmental table.

The General Front says it is ready for a negotiated settlement before the holidays. Its bodies are expected to convene on December 18 and 19, giving them an opportunity to ratify a potential deal. If the deal fails, an indefinite general strike could be called early next year.

“This is the longest strike the public sector has seen in 50 years. Unfortunately, the Legautl government will have to put it on its balance sheet,” said APTS president Robert Comeau.