Now is the time to mobilize for a good collective agreement

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Shiaman Diawara opening remarks – MUHCEU Union Council September 12, 2023

Good morning and welcome everyone.

I’d like to point out that for many of you, this is the first time you’ve attended a Union Council where we’ll be talking about strike action.

This Council is of absolute importance, because we have to renew our collective agreement, and the government has forgotten that we are the people’s guardian angels.  The CAQ is singing the same song that the Liberals and the Péquistes sang to us when it was time to talk about our salaries: “we can’t afford it”.

It’s funny, but the government always has the means when it’s time to give subsidies to companies that are already making billions in profits.

For example, in the last six months, the CAQ has distributed 1.2 billion of our money to multinational battery companies.  All these companies are already making billions in profits, but it doesn’t matter, the CAQ is happily giving them our money.

It’s only when it’s time to talk about the salaries of guardian angels that the CAQ finds itself a “protector of public funds” soul.

The government won’t negotiate.  

The common front representing 420,000 unionized workers in the CSN, CSQ, FTQ and APTS has had 36 negotiating sessions and not a single line of the agreement has been settled, not a single one.

On the contrary, the government is presenting us with 20 new demands, including 9 rollbacks

– (evening, night and weekend premiums, 

– OT payable only after the complete work week,

– authorize the employer to change the requirements of different job titles and positions, 

– Reduce union liberations,

– increase the number of working hours, 

– modifying local collective agreements to increase mobility and flexibility, among other things…)

The government doesn’t want to discuss our problems and is only trying to impose its own vision:

– fewer rights for you,  

– that we’ll continue to be overworked

– that our working conditions will deteriorate

and what’s more, 

– he wants to impose a salary that doesn’t even keep pace with inflation.

Already, in 2021 inflation has been much higher than our salary increases.

In 2022, inflation was 6.7%.  That made us poorer, because we only got 2%.

So, not only have we become poorer, but the CAQ is proposing to make us poorer still for the next 5 years.

It’s shameful.  

To show you how much the CAQ despises us, they’re offering us 9% over 5 years, while they’ve just offered the SQ police 21% over 5 years. 

And the MPs voted themselves a 30% increase, not over 5 years, but applicable IMMEDIATELY, which represents an increase of $582 a week for an MP.

For us, the government’s 3% offer means :

–          26.25 per week for a class 3 AA

–          25.08 per week for a housekeeper

–          25.39 per week for a pharmacy technician assistant

The CAQ has given its MPs 22 times the wage increase they are proposing for guardian angels.

If we don’t want to be even poorer until 2028, we’ll have to mobilize!

We’re now talking about strike action and, above all, massive member participation in assemblies, demonstrations, votes and strikes. 

That’s the hard part, but it’s also the only way to win.  

IN 2023, many unions scored major victories on wages, but all these victories – and I insist, ALL THESE VICTORIES – have one thing in common, and one thing only, regardless of their economic sector: 

In all these victorious battles, workers PARTICIPATED massively in union actions and demonstrations, in assemblies, and in every case they voted massively in favor of strike action.  

Sometimes they didn’t need to, sometimes the strike was short, sometimes longer, but no victory comes without massive participation and determination from everyone.

Today, your first task is to explain to all your colleagues:

– that negotiations are going nowhere, 

– what we’re asking 

and above all 

– get everyone involved in the general meeting, the strike vote and all the union actions that will be taking place in the near future.

The general assemblies for the strike vote will start during the week of September 24, 

We need to show our strength, and we’re showing it through participation.

It’s your mandate to go out and meet members, before and after the shift, during breaks and meals, to explain the importance of 

– to participate, 

– to vote and 

– to give ourselves a strong, clear mandate.  

– We have to show that we’re ready to fight to the bitter end.

September 23 will be an important moment to send a strong message to the government. We can’t afford to miss it.  As members of the Trade Union Council, you have a duty to participate on the 23rd and to bring your colleagues, families and friends.  

Our fate is in our hands.


Shiaman Diawara

Président – President



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