Emergency medical responders vote to strike

Res; emergency medical responders vote for the strike

Work under pressure, compulsory overtime, understaffed… This is the daily life that the emergency medical responders (EMR) denounce and Urgences-santé office staff.

Meeting in general meetings earlier this week, the RMUs of Urgences-santé in Montreal, those in the National Capital and Estrie, came out in favor of a strike mandate “that could go as far as an indefinite general strike”.

“Our work is emotionally demanding. With these poor working conditions comes an increased risk of making a mistake, dropping a call in the queue or losing a second of concentration,” said the president of the Union of Urgences-santé employees, Anick Bélanger.

“This has an impact not only on employees, but also on the quality of service that the population is entitled to receive.”

Insufficient remuneration

One of the main demands at the center of this mobilization is the remuneration of RMUs, deemed too low by the Confederation of National Trade Unions (CSN), “undermining efforts to recruit the necessary staff”.

The CSN believes that the Treasury Board and RMU employers do not take into account the labor shortages they face.

This feeling is shared by Anick Bélanger: “It shouldn't just be a concern for us, but also for our employer and the Treasury Board. And that's not at all what we feel at the negotiating table!

By initiating a strike movement, the RMUs intend to force “managerial staff to participate in the maintenance of essential services”, in order to make the hierarchy aware of their difficulties.

“We hope that by coming to work during the staff strike, the employer and its managers will become aware of the pressure felt on a daily basis by the RMUs and the office workers in the field, completely overwhelmed”, underlines the representative of the pre-hospital sector at the Federation of Health and Social Services (FSSS-CSN), Jean Gagnon.

Absence of a collective agreement

Emergency medical responders and office staff have been working without a collective agreement since March 31, 2020, deplores CSN President Caroline Senneville. She thinks that “if they have no other options but to carry out an even more disruptive strike, the Treasury Board has only itself to blame.”

Lucie Longchamps, vice-president of the FSSS-CSN, reminds us that because of their essential role in society, the state limits their right to strike. The Vice President believes that the Treasury Board takes advantage of “this imbalanced balance of power”, which compromises the chances of seeing the claims of the RMU succeed.

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