March 9, 2018 6:21 pm

Dispute continues between union leader and health minister over working conditions

Jeff Begley, the union leader of the CSN's Health and Social Services division, says the closed-door discussions produced little results.

Tim Sargeant/Global News
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The meeting was held Friday morning at Health Minister Gaétan Barrette’s downtown Montreal office.

But Jeff Begley, the union leader of the CSN’s Health and Social Services division, says the closed-door discussions produced little results.

“It was frank. There are a certain number of things we will not agree upon,” Begley told reporters.

Begley says the working conditions of front-line health-care workers are some of the worst he’s ever seen.

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“The people that are working in the health and social services network are at a level of distress that I’ve never seen in 20 years that I’ve been at the federation,” he said.

The labour leader insists bureaucratic changes are required.

Begley is not asking for additional funding or a staff increase but he insists the system is broken and needs to be fixed.

“There has to be a change. There has to be a recognition of what’s happening,” he said.

A spokesperson told Global News that Barrette is not commenting on the discussions.

But the health minister said Thursday that more money overall is needed to increase capacity in the sector.

“And this is an issue that I’ve been fighting for on a daily basis,” Barrette told reporters Thursday morning.

Begley is hoping to hold more meetings in the future but for now, none are scheduled.

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