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Lia Levesque, The Canadian Press

The man who was government spokesperson at the negotiation table with the FIQ was never made aware of the fact that Quebec intended to offer nurses $1 billion more, but after this negotiation.

A few weeks after reaching an agreement in principle with the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé on the renewal of its collective agreement, in the summer of 2021, Quebec announced that it was ready to devote $ 1 billion to various measures to bring back nurses. full-time in the network, including bonuses.

However, the FIQ had just spent the previous year negotiating bonuses and other measures to stabilize the care teams, create more full-time positions and reduce compulsory overtime. And she had been told that the coffers were empty, that Quebec had given what it could.

The witness, Réda Diouri, told the court on Tuesday that between the time negotiations began with the FIQ and the signing of the collective agreement, he was never informed of the Treasury Board’s intention to offer nurses additional sums to the agreement that had been negotiated with the FIQ.

“The answer is quite simple: no. I did not know of any amount,” replied Mr. Diouri, who was nevertheless the government spokesperson at the negotiating table with the FIQ.

The Administrative Labor Tribunal resumed its hearings on Tuesday on the FIQ’s complaint against Quebec for obstruction and bad faith bargaining. The CSN and the CSQ have also filed complaints in this context.

The FIQ’s complaint is based on a COVID ministerial order offering bonuses, as well as on statements by the Minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé, in this context.

Before admitting that he had never been made aware of this additional sum, offered to the nurses by Quebec, after the fact, Mr. Diouri had recounted the long negotiations to satisfy the demands of the FIQ.

Several measures had been negotiated to try to reduce the workload of nurses, compulsory overtime, to increase the number of full-time positions and to add staff to the floor of health establishments, he said.

After months and months of negotiations, he managed to reach a complete agreement in principle with the FIQ.

However, a few weeks later, Quebec announced at a press conference that it was ready to devote $1 billion to various measures aimed at bringing full-time nurses back into the public network.

Administrative judge Myriam Bédard will continue her hearings for a few more days.