Maintenance workers in Quebec health-care system demand COVID-19 bonus

Maintenance workers in the health-care system protest what they call unfair compensation, being left out of COVID-19 bonuses. Global News

Maintenance workers who operate within the health-care setting are demanding what they call fair compensation.

Plumbers, electricians, and servicemen and women were just some of the dozens of workers who demonstrated outside Montreal’s Douglas Hospital Monday afternoon. 

Some 60 members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) waved signs at the entrance of the hospital grounds.

The union representing maintenance employees says despite working in the health-care setting throughout the two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, its workers are still not eligible to receive a $1,000 monthly bonus like others in the health-care system.

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“The Quebec government has to change. For the last two years, these workers have built COVID wards and took care for the patient needs,” Fanny Demontigny, CUPE spokesperson, said.

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“It needs to change, they need access to that bonus.”

Demontigny says these workers have been forgotten as they work in the shadows by carrying out essential tasks in the fight against the pandemic.

She also adds skilled workers in the public sector in Quebec have a salary that is more than 30 per cent lower than that of their colleagues in the private sector.

In September of last year, in an effort to retain health-care workers, nurses especially, the Quebec government instituted $1 billion in bonuses.

Other unions, such as the Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et services sociaux (APTS), which represents approximately 60,000 professional and technical staff — like medical imaging technologists, lab technicians and social workers — say their members feel overlooked by the government as well.

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