Montreal

Quebec nurses to strike against mandatory overtime Monday

The union representing 76,000 nurses is rejecting mandatory overtime on April 8.

Nurses union calls on CAQ to follow through on promise to end daily, unplanned 'detention'

The president of Quebec's largest nurses union, Nancy Bédard, says the FIQ's 76,000 members will get 'a day when they are not likely to be taken hostage,' when they walk off the job Monday. (Chantal Poirier/CP file photo)

Quebec's largest nurses union has called a one-day strike on Monday, April 8 to protest against what it calls "organizational violence" by employers in the form of mandatory overtime.

Nancy Bédard, president of the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé (FIQ), said the day of protest will ensure FIQ's 76,000 members get one "normal" work day.

"A day when they are not likely to be taken hostage: that is the goal," Bédard said.

The expectation that nurses work overtime regularly and without notice undermines their rights as health care professionals — and has a direct impact on the quality of care.

The head of FIQ for the Lower St. Lawrence region, Cindie Soucy, talked about just how grim the working conditions are for many nurses at a news conference Tuesday.

"We have workers in detention," Soucy said. "They are forced to stay, and work and they fear reprisals from their employers."

Quebec's largest nurses union said mandatory overtime affects the quality of life of its members. (Marie-Laure Josselin/Radio-Canada)

Demanding CAQ government step up

Monday's strike has also been organized to remind the Coalition Avenir Québec government that it promised nurses it would put an end to mandatory overtime during last year's election campaign.

Quebec Health Minister Danielle McCann said in a statement the addition of $200 million to her ministry's budget to hire more nurses and other health care workers will mean working conditions will improve by the end of 2019. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

On Jan. 22, Health Minister Danielle McCann promised an improvement to the situation by the end of 2019.

"As of this year, we are adding $200 million to hire health care workers in our CHSLDs, hospitals and other institutions," McCann said in a statement Tuesday.

"This is a huge step in the right direction. By working together, we will get there," she said.

McCann called on management at the province's health care institutions to plan staffing accordingly, in light of the overtime strike.

In her statement, McCann said the health and safety of patients must not be jeopardized by the FIQ protest.

"The use of compulsory overtime is part of nurses' professional obligations," the statement read.

With files from Radio-Canada

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