ontario news watch

Public sector strike: Quebec government calls on unions to submit counter-offer

MONTREAL — Quebec’s treasury board president is imploring unionized workers to table a counter-offer to the government’s last contract proposal ahead of this week’s planned, provincewide  public sector strikes.

Sonia LeBel published a short video on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying the province’s last offer was a serious one and merited a counter-proposal, but the unions have not submitted a reply.

The province is negotiating with unions representing some 600,000 public sector workers over new contracts and teachers, nurses, health care workers, junior college professors and other public sector employees will be on strike at various times during the next week.

Last month unions rejected Quebec’s latest contract offer for all employees — a 10.3-per-cent salary increase over five years and a one-time payment of $1,000 to each worker, up slightly from the nine per cent over the same term offered last December.

The government has said the offer was serious and in line with inflation forecasts, but the unions have described the government’s offer as insulting.

Unions have previously sought a three-year contract with annual increases tied to the inflation rate: two percentage points above inflation in the first year or $100 per week, whichever is more beneficial, followed by three points higher in the second year and four points higher in the third.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 19, 2023.

The Canadian Press