APTS on strike, FSSS reaches agreement with Quebec government

Members of the APTS health and social services held consultations on a potential strike mandate. SOURCE: APTS/Facebook

Some 60,000 workers in Quebec's health and social services institutions are on strike as of 12:01 a.m. Monday morning.

The walkout is expected to last until Tuesday unless an agreement is reached between the Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux (APTS) and the Quebec government.

The group represents 60,000 laboratory technicians, medical imaging technicians, social workers, psychologists, nutritionists and more.

According to the union, negotiations are still underway, following previous strike action on June 7 and 8.

Many of the members work in youth centers and health institutions.

A demonstration is also planned at 10 a.m. on Monday in front of the premier's office in Montreal.

For its part, the Fédération de la Santé et des Services Sociaux (FSSS), had also planned to strike starting Monday, but ended up reaching an agreement with the government.

The union states there has been "significant progress in negotiations that are in line with the objectives pursued," adding this was enough to justify ending its strike mandate.

Half of the members at the FSSS would have been affected by the walkout -- that is, 60,000 out of 110,000.

The other 50,000 were still waiting for their list of essential services to be approved by the Administrative Labour Tribunal.

To date, the Quebec government has reached several comprehensive or partial agreements in principle with numerous public sector labour organizations.

The comprehensive agreement with the FTQ, for example, provides salary increases of 2 per cent in 2020-2021, 2021-2022 and 2022-2023, plus a generous wage increase for both the lowest wage earners and entry-level positions in some jobs.

Quebec has also reached an agreement with the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé (FIQ), which represents 76,000 nurses, nursing assistants, respiratory therapists and other care professionals.

Agreements in principle were also reached with two union groups representing elementary and secondary school teachers, the Fédération des syndicats de l'enseignement affiliated with the CSQ, which was negotiating for 73,000 teachers, and the Fédération autonome de l'enseignement, which was negotiating for 49,000 teachers.

Tentative agreements were also reached with school support staff, education professionals and the government professionals union.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on June 21, 2021.