Quebec premier asks unions for flexibility amid collective bargaining talks

MONTREAL — Quebec Premier François Legault is calling on the province's public-sector unions to be more "flexible" in their approach to collective bargaining talks in the weeks before their current contracts are set to expire.

Legault issued a Facebook post today saying union leaders are operating with a "closed mindset" and are refusing to sit down with the government to find a solution before their contracts end on Mar. 31.

This comes after multiple public sector unions decried a new offer from the province this week regarding working conditions for nurses, teachers and psychologists.

The offer was sent after the unions refused to participate in discussion forums organized by Quebec Treasury Board president Sonia Lebel.

The unions want the discussions to take place at the negotiation table rather than the forums.

The president of Quebec's largest union — which represents more than 600,000 members — called the message "false" and accused the premier and the government of "disinformation."

Magali Picard of the Quebec Federation of Labour says the unions are more than ready to negotiate, adding the discussion forums proposed by the government are not part of "a legal framework" for holding negotiations, where proposals can be put forward for discussion.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2023. H

The Canadian Press