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80,000 Quebec health-care workers to strike Dec. 11 to 14

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A major federation of Quebec health-care unions announced on Wednesday that their 80,000 workers are set to strike Dec. 11 to  14.

Unless a deal is reached, members of the FIQ (Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec) will be on strike for the third time in recent months.

"The mobilization of care professionals is impressive," said FIQ president Julie Bouchard in a news release. "Nurses, nursing assistants, respiratory therapists and clinical perfusionists are determined to improve their working conditions and the conditions of care for the people of Quebec. The citizens of Quebec have clearly understood this, unlike the government."

The FIQ strike will coincide with the Common Front strike days, taking place Dec. 8 to 14. The Common Front is made up of the CSN, CSQ, FTQ, and APTS unions and represents around 420,000 workers in the health, social services, and education sectors.

The FIQ said in a release that discussions have intensified recently in hopes of reaching a deal by the end of the year. The federation adds, however, that "no concrete gains have yet been made" in its view.

"Clearly, our strike days have produced results and the government is finally starting to be open to listening to our solutions," said Bouchard. "So now is not the time to let up the pressure. It's time to keep up the pressure."

The FIQ is looking for salary increases, improved working conditions, "reasonable workloads," and laws to regulate the patient-to-health-care-professional ratio. 

The federation said that departments such as emergency and intensive care will not see any change in terms of service during strike days.

"For others, such as elective surgery, there may be a slowdown," said FIQ spokesperson Felix Tremblay. "We comply with essential service standards." 

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