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Public Sector Workers In Quebec Stage One-Day Strike

As many as 420,000 public sector workers in Quebec are staging a one-day strike today (Nov. 6) to protest the provincial government’s latest contract offer.

Schools, healthcare facilities, and social services will all be disrupted as four unions representing 420,000 workers are off the job.

The government's latest contract proposal includes a 10.3% pay increase over five years and a one-time payment of $1,000 per worker. The union has called the government’s offer “paltry.”

Some health and social services, including mental health, youth protection and medical imagery, will operate at between 70% and 85% capacity during the one-day strike, while emergency and intensive care services will be maintained at 100%, said the unions.

Other unions are expected to hold similar one-day strikes later this week, including a walkout by the union representing 80,000 nurses.

A union representing some 65,000 Quebec teachers has also said it will launch an unlimited general strike on Nov. 23 if a new contract agreement isn't reached by then.

The labour negotiations have been ongoing since the beginning of the year after the Government of Quebec tabled its first offer to the public sector unions in December 2022.

The government has said that, in addition to the pay raises, its offer includes more money for workers and shifts it considers priorities, such as nurses working nights and weekends.

Workers who earn less than $52,000 a year would also receive an additional 1% pay increase.

The unions say the government's proposal fails to cover inflation and the rising cost of living. They are demanding a three-year contract with annual increases tied to the inflation rate.