Over 90% of public sector union members in Quebec in favour of a strike

Union leaders from left to right: Eric Gingras, CSQ, Robert Comeau, APTS, Magali Picard, FTQ and François Énault, CSN, march in a common front on Thursday, March 30, 2023 in front of the legislature in Quebec City. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Union leaders from left to right: Eric Gingras, CSQ, Robert Comeau, APTS, Magali Picard, FTQ and François Énault, CSN, march in a common front on Thursday, March 30, 2023 in front of the legislature in Quebec City. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press - image credit)

The first votes held by the common front of major public sector unions indicate unequivocal support for a walkout.

Over 90 per cent of votes registered so far support a strike, as reported by La Presse Canadienne.

The common front of major unions and labour federations is organizing a protest in Montreal Saturday starting at Parc Jeanne-Mance at 1 p.m. The crowd will then head toward the Quartier des spectacles in the city's downtown.

The four major unions — the CSQ, the CSN, the APTS and the FTQ — are requesting a mandated unlimited general strike, which would be preceded by isolated or grouped days of striking.

The votes concern the health, social services and education sectors which have all been affected by staffing shortages.

Within the APTS, for example, 97 per cent of members of the Centre intégré de santé et des services sociaux (CISSS) in Lanaudière voted in favour of the strike. Members of the Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux (APTS) at the Shriners Hospital voted 100 per cent in favour of the strike. At the CISSS in Laval, 96.2 per cent of members were in favour.

General assemblies will continue to be held until mid-October. Together, the four unions of the common front represent 420,000 public sector workers.

Quebec offers all employees a 9 per cent increase over five years, plus a lump sum of $1,000 the first year. It also adds a sum equivalent to 2.5 per cent dedicated to "government priorities," bringing its offer to 13 per cent over five years.

The common front is asking for a three-year employment contract: $100 per week or the Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus 2 per cent for the first year, the CPI plus 3 per cent in the second year and the CPI plus 4 per cent in the third year.

Collective agreements in the public and para-public sectors expired on March, 31. The common front's demands were submitted last fall while the Quebec government's offer was made in December.