News From the Northern Negotiation Tables P3 & P4
Negotiations at the northern tables followed much the same path as for the P1 and P2 tables. We were invited on Wednesday, March 25th, to resume negotiations at an accelerated pace, despite the common agreement that we would suspend the negotiations until early April. The objective of the exercise in which we were asked to participate by the employer side was to conclude a collective agreement in the coming days. We wanted to know more about the context of the upcoming discussions, and, above all, what conditions would be imposed on us if we accepted this blitz. To do this, we met with the two northern tables (Cree and Kativik) the following day on Thursday, March 26th.
At that time, we indicated to the employer that we had to validate with our federation as to whether we had the mandate to agree to negotiate sectoral matters quickly. We wanted to have as much information as possible. The employer side informed us that all union demands could be discussed, both monetary and those at zero-cost. Also, we did not have a limit on the number of demands,” that could be identified as priorities, but since the mandate was to negotiate quickly, we had to be selective. With respect to the deadline, no date was mentioned, but it was a question of days, not weeks. The employer side ensured that it had all the mandates to negotiate quickly.
We then did the exercise of preparing a “short list “of demands with the Conseil féderal de négociation. The identified demands were balanced and realistic in our view, and which could be agreed upon quickly. We presented this list on Sunday, March 29th at both tables. We also received a priority list of demands from the employer. We were very disappointed to find that the vast majority of employer demands were still on the table, including requests representing significant setbacks for our members. We expressed our displeasure at both tables. In addition, we were also dissatisfied with the lack of mandates on the part of employers to negotiate our demands. We found that the attitude of the employer was not one of a genuine accelerated negotiation process. We indicated that we expected a quick return, which was scheduled for the next day, March 30th. At the time of writing this, we still have not heard back from the representatives of the Cree and Kativik tables.
Our future actions will therefore have to be part of a comprehensive and coordinated strategy. Rest assured that we will keep you informed of what will happen next.