One-day nurses' strike affects blood donation clinics in Montreal

Hema-Quebec blood donation

A one-day strike is affecting Héma-Québec's head office, permanent blood collection centres and mobile clinics in the Montreal region.

The union representing Héma-Québec nurses (SPI-CSQ,) states that 132 nurses, nursing assistants, consultants and technicians are on strike.

The work stoppage affects the fixed blood drive centres located at the Kirkland municipality, Quartier Dix30 in Brossard, Centre Laval and Place Versailles in Montreal.

The mobile clinics located at Carrefour du Nord in Saint-Jérôme, the Saint-Lazare community centre, the Saint-Jovite church, Carrefour Richelieu, Promenades St-Bruno and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Saint-Hilaire are also affected.

Union members blame the employer for a lack of openness at the bargaining table and slow discussion progress.

The collective agreement expired on 31 March 2019. A conciliator was appointed last January, but the union says negotiations have made little headway.

One of the main issues in dispute is the question of wages.

According to the union, Héma-Québec nurses and nursing assistants are significantly behind in salary compared to their colleagues in the public health and social services network.

Other subjects under discussion include mandatory overtime, schedule stability, access to leave and staff shortages.

The president of the SPI-CSQ, Nancy Landry, believes that working conditions must be improved to avoid making it difficult to retain and attract nurses at Héma-Québec.

In a statement, Héma-Québec said it proposed in recent weeks to procceed negiotiations in "accelerated mode," but that the union refused. 

"This proposal was refused by the SPI-CSQ, unlike all the other unions, including the Québec City nurses' union. The employer presented offers comparable to those of the health network," the statement reads. 

Héma-Québec also stressed that blood drives are still underway Wednesday and encouraged donors to participate. 

"All scheduled blood drives are part of essential services and that 1,000 blood donations are required every day to meet the needs of hospitals."

This report was first published in French by The Canadian Press on July 6, 2022.

With files from CTV's Lillian Roy. 

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