MONTREAL -- The FIQ and the APTS, which represent 131,000 health care workers in Quebec, accepted the outstretched hand of Premier Francois Legault and want to negotiate their new contract and working conditions "urgently."

In an interview with The Canadian Press on Wednesday, the presidents of the Federation interprofessionnelle de la sante, Nancy Bedard, and the Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la sante et des services sociaux, Andree Poirier, were categorical: exceptional circumstances require exceptional negotiations. It’s time to hurry up.

La Presse revealed earlier that on Sunday Legault raised the possibility of signing a specific collective agreement with the public sector unions for health workers, for three years, which would be negotiated quickly, given the context of the coronavirus pandemic.

The two presidents have not only said they accept the offer, but they see it as an emergency and are even tired of waiting since Sunday.

“We are not closed to anything,” said Bedard.

“Nothing is impossible from now on,” added Poirier.

The FIQ represents 76,000 nurses, licensed practical nurses and other healthcare professionals. The APTS represents 55,000 laboratory technicians, social workers, psychologists and others in health and social services.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 18, 2020.