Quebec premier asks unions for flexibility amid collective bargaining talks – Montreal

Prime Minister Francois Legault said on Saturday, weeks before his current contract expires, public sector unions in Quebec must be more “flexible” in their approach to collective bargaining negotiations with the province. .

Legault released a statement on Saturday saying union leaders operate in a “closed mindset” and have refused to speak with the government to find a solution before the contract expires on March 31. said there is.

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“Things will go faster if union leaders agree to change their attitudes, get out of their closed mindset and talk to us to change things,” he wrote. “It’s better for Quebec citizens and better for nurses and teachers. We sincerely hope that union leaders will soon embrace being part of the solution. I’ll be waiting.”

His remarks came days after multiple public sector unions rejected new proposals from the state, arguing that they barely addressed working conditions for nurses, teachers and psychologists.

“I could understand if the government wanted to reduce salaries and working conditions for nurses and teachers,” added Legault. “But it’s the other way around. We want to improve their condition.”

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The province submitted the proposal after the union refused to participate in a discussion forum hosted by Sonia Rebel, president of the Quebec Finance Commission.

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At a press conference on Wednesday, Lebel said her offer was worth $700 million and was shared by email after the union failed to show up on the discussion forum she was trying to present.

As a union, we prefer that discussions take place at the negotiating table rather than the forums.

The president of Quebec’s largest trade union, with more than 600,000 members, called the message “false” and accused the prime minister and government of “disinformation”.

“This is all a big lie. Unions are ready to negotiate,” Magali Picard of the Quebec Labor Federation said in an interview on Saturday.

Pickard pointed out that the government’s proposed forum for discussion would not be part of the “legal framework” for conducting negotiations and would allow proposals to be put up for debate.

“The day we are present (at the forum) we will have discussions, but when it comes time to ratify, the government can withdraw and there is no way to say it wasn’t what was negotiated. said Picard.

“We are no longer in an era where we have time to talk.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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