Quebec health care workers block bridges in Montreal and Quebec City

Record Staff
Quebec health care workers block bridges in Montreal and Quebec City

After spending several months locked in contract negotiations with the Quebec government, members of the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ) and private health sector took to the streets.
Health care workers swarmed the Jacques-Cartier Bridge in Montreal and the Pont de Québec in Quebec City to force the provincial government to listen to their demands. The protest, which occurred Monday morning, was spontaneous, said Roberto Bomba.
According to the FIQ executive officer, the goal was to send a clear message to government and Health Minister Christian Dubé. Health care professionals are “disappointed, discouraged and angered” with the way contact negotiations have unravelled lately, Bomba explained.
“There is very little movement, so, yes, talks are ongoing, unfortunately there’s nothing concrete that will change or improve the working conditions of the health care professionals,” he said.
The FIQ represents 76,000 licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists and clinical perfusionists across Quebec. The group is fighting to eliminate mandatory overtime and establish a sensible workload, as well as improve conditions of long-term care facilities.
“This is a distress signal that we are once again sending to the Legault government,” FIQ President Nancy Bédard said in a press release.
FIQ has made it clear over the last few days that it is done staying quiet, according to Bédard. She added that the federation has repeatedly explained to the government about the risk of burnout for health care professionals.
They are more prone to illness, retirement or resignation, she said, and the Quebec government continues to ignore any concrete proposals tabled by the FIQ. If words won’t work anymore, the best option is to take action, Bédard commented.
“Today, we want all of Québec to know that we have had enough, our working conditions must change,” said Bédard.
On Oct. 24 and 25, FIQ members are expected to protest mandatory overtime by walking out immediately upon completing an assigned 8-hour or 12-hour shift. People will not be “held hostage” this weekend, Bomba said.
The protest is province-wide and unanimously supported by members of the FIQ. With health care workers spontaneously protesting on Monday, Bomba expects to see more demonstrations in the upcoming weeks.
The FIQ is meeting with its 500 delegates on Tuesday to discuss the progress of the ongoing contract negotiations. Bomba told The Record that “anything can happen” at the end of the meeting.

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