At the start of the year, I would have liked to say that a new era is dawning in negotiations between the State and its employees.
The government offers announced on December 15 and the anger of the unions are rather reminiscent of the scenario observed in recent decades, without however stopping the weakening of the health and education networks.
Although these attitudes are preludes to a dialogue of the deaf, the parties will manage to agree on the content of a future collective agreement. They will then boast of having achieved major goals.
In the past, some unions have even called their agreement historic, yet in the next round, they were screaming that the working conditions of their members were untenable.
We only have to review the declarations of a union federation during previous negotiations and its denunciations now on the heaviness of the task to realize that the current bargaining system has its limits.
We may want to revolutionize our health and education networks, however the priority should be in building a real dialogue between the parties.
A new trading regimen could come in handy!
A constant dialogue
It is hardly surprising, with collective agreements lasting five years and parties who despise each other, to see growing dissatisfaction among public network personnel and the population.
The problems left undone during a round of negotiations and those that arise during the contract, without solutions being quickly found, add to the general discontent.
Unfortunately, discussions outside the legal framework of negotiations produce few results, as labor relations are increasingly legalized.
However, part of the solution lies in an ongoing dialogue between the parties and more frequent adjustments to the collective agreement.
Without falling into a system of permanent negotiation, we could borrow from the Norwegians their negotiation every two years or from the Swedes the possibility of adapting the national agreement locally.
One thing is certain, the pretensions to a trade unionism of social transformation and the state responsibilities to ensure quality care and education for all should take precedence in the minds of the parties.
The need for social dialogue
There is a lot of talk about the health mammoth, with some calling for the privatization of large parts of the network.
However, we must remember that our health system continues to treat and save lives. The problems he experiences are similar in several other Western countries and are due in large part to the neoliberal obsession with saving money by shrinking the supply of services.
In no way will the private sector improve the situation if, as a society, we do not determine our expectations.
The same observation could apply to education with a three-tier system.
Social choices are needed, but political courage is sorely lacking on all sides!
Despite these few clouds, allow me to wish you a happy new year.