Shooting at the messenger is a tactic that dates back to antiquity, but still remains as widespread as ever, especially in politics.
On Thursday, the Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, was quick to criticize the To have to and the unions for the “inaccuracies” of the information according to which the $ 15,000 bonus promised to nurses who would join the public health network would be taken away from them if they took a single day of unpaid leave.
This is however indicated in the application guide for the attraction plan announced last month which was transmitted. Other premium cuts are planned for absences due to illness or maternity. The simple fact that professionals move from one establishment to another within the network, during their contract, would also be penalized.
Mr. Dubé pleaded for a misinterpretation, which nevertheless required a “rectification” from his department. But this is certainly not the time for pettiness, which can only reinforce the mistrust of those who are already skeptical about the changes he has promised to bring to the culture and working conditions in the network. .
If he does not want to lose face definitively on November 15, the date on which unvaccinated employees will in principle be suspended without pay, there should be no doubt as to the sincerity of the offer made to those whose return would allow avoid catastrophic service disruptions. The bond of trust is already fragile enough.
In his opening speech, Premier Legault said he welcomed workers who can take advantage of the general labor shortage to demand higher wages. “Before, employers had the big end of the stick. Now it is the employees who have the big end of the stick, ”he said.
In its capacity as employer, the Quebec State itself has the experience of finding itself with the small end of the stick and this situation is not about to change with the aging of the population, which will provoke competition. increasingly keen to attract the workforce available in all sectors.
In the days of the Quiet Revolution, the state that was being built from scratch had no trouble recruiting those it needed. On the contrary, we were rushing for these new jobs which opened up intoxicating prospects. As the democratization of education bore fruit, the state offered a stimulating outlet for these new talents.
For decades, finding “a job in government ”seemed to give the assurance of a stable and well-paid job while waiting for the day of a comfortable retirement, when the private sector generally paid less and always had a degree of uncertainty.
Prime Minister Lesage might well say that “the queen does not negotiate with her subjects”, the unions quickly established themselves as essential and tough interlocutors, who demonstrated their strength during the spectacular strikes culminating in 1972 in the imprisonment of the heads of the three large power stations.
Even if the image of the cushy civil servant in his ivory tower dies, it has been a long time since a job in the Quebec public sector is no longer the jackpot. And there are so many exciting things to do elsewhere. Compared to the federal or municipal public service, state corporations or universities, overall compensation was 28.3% lower in 2020, according to the Institut de la statistique du Québec.
In large companies in the private sector (200 employees and more), the salary was 13.3% higher, but the overall compensation was equivalent, taking into account the fewer working hours and more paid holidays in the public sector.
However, these figures cover very different realities from one sector to another. The Duchesneau report (2011) had spectacularly demonstrated the consequences of the gap between the remuneration offered to engineers at the Ministry of Transport and that offered by the private sector, which had opened the door to collusion and corruption, so well documented by the Charbonneau commission. A tax evasion specialist at Revenu Quebec could also find a much more lucrative job by skipping the fence.
The difficult working conditions to which nurses and daycare educators are subjected, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic, have long been known. They too now have the big end of the stick and there is nothing forcing them to accept the unacceptable.
In 1969, filmmaker Arthur Lamothe gave a title that had marked the spirits of his documentary on working conditions in the construction industry in Montreal: Contempt will only have a time. If it is not by virtue that we will put an end to it, necessity dictates it.