Public sector workers across the province will once again be taking to the streets. The leaders of the Front commun have announced that health, social services, and education workers affiliated with the coalition of public sector unions will walk off the job at midnight on December 8 for a period of seven days if a contract agreement has not been reached.
“This is the final sequence before we launch an unlimited general strike,” said Front commun spokespersons François Enault, CSN first vice-president; Éric Gingras, CSQ president; Magali Picard, FTQ president; and Robert Comeau, APTS president.
“This announcement demonstrates our seriousness and determination to reach an agreement before the holidays,” said union leaders during a press briefing Tuesday morning.
According to the Front commun, the three-day strike last week generated some movement at negotiation tables and resulted in a change of tone on the part of the government. They suggest the request for conciliation has also had an impact at the negotiating tables, including the addition of at least five new days of contract talks.
“The negotiating teams welcome this change at the table, but this does not preclude the need to maintain pressure and continue mobilizing so that things progress towards a concrete agreement,” they said, adding that the seven-day walkout in December will be the longest public sector strike in 50 years.
Unions affiliated with the Front commun will convene their respective decision-making bodies during the week of December 18 to take stock of the negotiations. If there is no agreement in principle to discuss, the unions say they will exercise their mandate and launch a general strike in 2024.
The work stoppage will see all public schools closed as well as all affiliated daycare services.
Some schools in the province have been closed since November 23, when 65,000 teachers with the Fédération autonome de l’enseignement (FAE) began an unlimited strike.
Le Devoir is Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ) will announce on Wednesday whether further strike days will take place for the province’s nurses, auxiliary nurses, and other care professionals.