About 300 health care workers gathered outside the offices of the President of the Conseil du trésor and MP for Champlain, Sonia Lebel, on Saturday in Trois-Rivières. They called for reinvestment in public services in order to combat overwork and better wage conditions.
“For three years, we want three dollars and a dollar to catch up with the low-paid. Still in 2020, the workers who are most essential for Quebec are the low paid and I believe that everything must absolutely change, “explained Pascal Bastarache, president of the Union of Paratechnical Personnel, Auxiliary Services and Trades at the CIUSSS-MCQ.
Workers are also demanding increases at fixed amounts.
“It is to avoid having percentage increases as we have always known. Imagine a 3% increase on an average salary of $ 35,000 per year compared to members who earn $ 100,000 per year. It creates exponential inequities, ”added Frédéric Beaulieu, president of the Office Staff Union at the CIUSSS-MCQ.
The regional vice-president of the CSN’s health and social services federation, Marie-Line Séguin, discussed the subject with Prime Minister François Legault, who was in Mauricie on Friday. Her answers disappointed her.
“He replied that it was on our side that it was not progressing, that it was we who refused to move things forward and sit at the negotiating table. I know very well that this is not the case, ”explained Ms. Séguin.
Among the protesters were health workers from Montreal, Laval, Quebec, Laurentides, Lanaudière, Montérégie, Chaudière-Appalaches, Mauricie and Center-du-Québec. They were unanimous: the Legault government must review its ways of doing things.
“The government currently despises the guardian angels and all the people who work in the health field. So we are coming here today to hear the representatives of the Laurentians, ”said Steve Bouchard, President STT Laurentides.
“I worked with fear in my stomach to catch COVID-19. I share my computer with the nurses (…) I had better recognition at McDo who offered me coffee every morning! ” lamented France Tremblay, administrative agent in an ENT clinic in Laval.
Fears about the second wave It is time to act now, according to union representatives, since there is growing fear of the appearance of a second wave of COVID-19 in Quebec.
“The second wave, we all see it! Sit down right now, it hurries to get ready because if it happens like the first wave, we will be merciless and we will denounce constantly, “threatened Jeff Begley, president of the federation of health and services of the CSN.