Midwives protest lack of negotiation progress
Published Monday, November 20, 2017 2:21PM EST
Last Updated Monday, November 20, 2017 4:49PM EST
Dozens of Quebec’s midwives rallied outside the Plaza Hotel on Monday, voicing their displeasure at stalled labour talks and saying they expect the provincial government to deliver.
The hotel was home to a speech being given by Health Minister Gaetan Barrette to the Montreal Board of Trade.
For the past two years, Quebec’s midwives have been without a collective agreement.
Midwife Jessyka Boulanger said they don’t understand how the government can say there is no money while also boasting of economic surpluses.
“Midwives are part of the solution. There are reports across the world, including in Quebec, stating that (midwives help bring down healthcare costs),” said Boulanger.
Barrette said midwives are part of the healthcare network, but said they need to be more accountable if they want to be considered an essential service.
"It's not a parallel network that they're in. They're in the network, they're paid by government," said Barrette.
"What we're asking for is a true and proper accountability. That's what we're asking for, basically they don't want to get to that."
Midwives said talks have stalled over their request to increase on-call fees from $1.50 to $2.00 an hour, as well as calls for a 4.5 percent wage increase.
"We are giving a lot of availabilities. Women can always reach a midwife 24/7," said Boulanger.
There are about 200 midwives working in Quebec.
“We don’t understand why they’re not willing to invest into midwifery when they’re posting a $4.5 billion surplus,” said Boulanger.
There is no word as to when negotiations will resume.