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Quebec government turning deaf ear to overtime hours: health-care workers union

FIQ union representatives hold press conference on stagnate negotiations with provincial government.
FIQ union representatives hold press conference on stagnate negotiations with provincial government. Global News/ Brayden Jagger Haines

After six months of negotiations, the Quebec government is turning a deaf ear, the Fédération Interprofessionnelle de la santé du Quebec (FIQ) union said at a press conference on Wednesday.

The five CIUSSS union representatives from the Montreal region led by FIQ vice-president Denyse Joseph spoke about the difficulties their employees face.

The union officials representing 17,000 health-care workers from the Montreal area say the two sides are at an impasse.

READ MORE: Quebec health minister called ‘arrogant,’ blamed by opposition for nurses’ exhaustion

A total of 26 items are being tossed around between the two parties but the major sticking point, union representatives say, is employees’ hours.

The provincial government is asking for more flexibility from its employees in terms of hours while the unions want the province to hire more full-time workers instead of forcing overtime.

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“These hours of paid overtime represent so much money that they could create full-time permanent positions,” Joseph said.

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Among the five CIUSSS centres, 1.1-million hours of overtime were forced on health-care workers, the FIQ says.

Joseph says a constant scheduled work environment at the same unit or hospital is beneficial to the employee and the patient.

Joseph added that Alzheimer’s patients “need to have the same professional so that they can recognize and establish a link with that worker.”

READ MORE: Quebec health minister, nurses agree to plan to ease workload

Joseph says with the way things are heading, she is not hopeful of reaching a resolution with the government by the Oct. 1 deadline.