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  • David Boudeweel-Lefebvre

The Québec government avoids an indefinite general strike

In the final days of December 2023, the Québec government managed to avert an indefinite general strike by reaching agreements in principle with two major public sector labor groups: the Fédération autonome de l'enseignement (FAE), representing 40% of the province's teachers, and the Common Front, which counts 420,000 public sector workers among its ranks.


The situation was tense, with the FAE on indefinite general strike since November 23, and members of the Common Front having already observed a few days of strike action in the autumn. The Common Front was also threatening to launch an indefinite general strike at the start of 2024 if an agreement was not reached with the government.

While the exact details of the agreements remain confidential, we do know that a 17.4% wage increase over five years will be granted to Common Front members. It is estimated that the new union agreements will cost the government around $3.5 billion a year.


It is important to emphasize that the agreements in principle are a first step in the dispute resolution process. They must still be approved by union delegations and members before being considered definitive.


Negotiations between the government and the nurses' union, the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec, remain deadlocked, despite a threatened strike and many months of negotiations.


These negotiations take place against a delicate economic backdrop, as Québec faces a technical recession and bleak budget forecasts. The Minister of Finance will have to be prudent and creative when presenting his budget next spring to manage this major new expense.

 

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