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Quebec will see three public sector strikes this week

It's shaping up to be a tumultuous week in Quebec's public services sector, with three strikes occurring at different times but all overlapping on Thursday.

First, the Common Front- comprised of the CSN, APTS, CSQ and FTQ and representing 420,000 members -- will get the ball rolling with its walkout on Nov. 21, 22 and 23. Health, social services, schools and CEGEPs will be affected.

Next, the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé (FIQ), representing 80,000 nurses and other care professionals, will take its turn on November 23 and 24.

Finally, starting on Nov. 23, 66,000 teachers with the Fédération autonome de l'enseignement (FAE) will embark on an unlimited general strike.

Other negotiation days have been added to the calendar this week, so negotiating committees will be in place during the job actions.

"We said that if there was no settlement by the 21st, we'd be on strike. It's clear that there won't be a settlement before the 21st. What we're saying is that we're ready to negotiate seven days a week. We want a settlement," said CSN vice-president François Enault in an interview.

Last Friday, Quebec Premier François Legault stressed he was willing and ready to renew the collective agreements affecting some 600,000 government employees.

"I hope we'll settle this in the next few days and that there won't be a strike next week," he said.

But these three strikes will be hard to avoid, given the meagre progress at the negotiation table.

"The government didn't avoid the first short strike sequence. It didn't avoid the second strike sequence. I hope it will understand that it should try to work to avoid the third strike sequence," said CSN's Enault.


The Common Front's mandate is for an unlimited general strike preceded by strike sequences. The next sequence could therefore last a few days or become unlimited.

"Right now, the mandate we have could be an unlimited general strike somewhere in December, if things don't progress. But we're continuing. The only thing we agree on with the government is that we want a settlement by the holidays," Enault concluded.

Among other groups, the Common Front represents the majority of elementary and secondary school teachers in Quebec through the CSQ. In healthcare institutions, it also represents orderlies through the CSN and FTQ, as well as technicians and health and social service workers through the APTS. It also represents tens of thousands of support staff in schools and health care.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Nov. 19, 2023. Top Stories

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