MONTREAL -- Various FIQ-affiliated unions are encouraging their members to refuse mandatory overtime work on weekends.

The Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ) unions are also asking health network managers not to impose extra shifts on Saturday and Sunday.

"If managers do not understand this final call for help, care professionals will refuse any obligation to work overtime that would put their health or that of patients at risk, while respecting their physical and psychological capacity to practice," said Nancy Hogan, president of the Syndicat interprofessionnel du CHU de Québec (SICHU-FIQ), in a news release Friday.

The action is part of a mobilization campaign of the FIQ under the theme "forced overtime is professional assassination", which will be held over the next few days.

The union is using the acronym TSO or le temps supplementaire obligatoire in French.

The repetitive use of TSO overtime is considered by the unions to be "an abusive management method" and a practice that "destroys all chances of recruiting thousands of care professionals."

Although Quebec is promising to pay thousands of dollars in bonuses to bring nurses back and allow for more stable schedules, the unions are calling for forced overtime to be curbed in the short term.

"By keeping care professionals trapped in their work, the TSO has a serious impact on their personal and family life. This is the message we want to remind the employer of this weekend," said Karine D'Auteuil, interim president of the Syndicat des professionnelles en soins de l'Outaouais, in a news release.

On Friday, the FIQ sent a formal notice urging Health Minister Christian Dubé to put an end to the "abusive use" of forced overtime by Nov. 15.

Dubé said he wanted to eliminate the TSO, but argued in a press scrum on Friday that one of the ways to do so was to recruit staff.

According to him, managers have to reorganize services for the time being. He also called on all parties involved to "put water in their wine" to try to find other innovative solutions.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Oct. 16, 2021.