Nurses refuse mandatory overtime in second day of protest

Thousands of nurses across the province are refusing to do mandatory overtime Saturday, as part of ongoing protests against the practice.

From 4 p.m. Friday to 4 p.m. Saturday, nurses and other health care professionals are refusing to work the overtime hours assigned to them.

The Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ), which represents 76,000 nurses, aides and other health professionals, first launched the protest back in April.

They said that establishments are using the practice of forced extra hours as a means to manage their workload rather than as an extraordinary measure.

And nurses say they are tired of repeated promises to abolish the practice, said Nancy Bédard, the president of the FIQ.

"It's day after day, week after week," Bédard said. "A [nurse] never knows when she can actually leave work … and [mandatory overtime] is not rare. We would not be talking about this if it happened rarely."

"When administrators prioritize planning the schedule, we are capable of going 24 hours with only a little mandatory overtime," Bédard said.

Bédard said she hopes hospital administrations will take "the necessary measures" to make schedules that minimize overtime as much as possible.

"Employees can't continue to be managed like this."

This is the second day of refusing overtime this year.