(Montreal) Various unions affiliated with the Federation of Occupational Health of Quebec (FIQ) are encouraging their members to reject compulsory overtime (OST) this weekend.
They are also asking health network managers not to impose additional work shifts on Saturdays and Sundays.
Members of dozens of unions spread across Quebec voted for this means of action, which is part of the FIQ’s mobilization campaign under the slogan “TSO is professional assassination”.
Nancy Hogan, president of the professional federation at CHU de Québec, which represents 4,500 nurses, nursing assistants and respiratory therapists, said the use of mandatory overtime has been going on for too long.
After the third wave, it’s awful. There is an obligatory common ground overtime. Health care professionals are stressed, and they no longer have a personal life.
Nancy Hogan, President of the Professional Confederation at CHU de Québec
It said that following the call for this mobilization, “many” of its members refused to work overtime. In particular, it is planned to rearrange the tables this weekend in view of the retention of working means.
The use of TSO may be possible “taking into account several factors” and “in the absence of other solutions,” the CHU’s Department of Communications at Université de Québec-Laval noted. He also noted the possibility of having to “reduce the number of beds used to ensure the required workforce”, taking into account the occupied beds and potential urgent and unplanned situations.
As this mobilization has been affected, CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale says it has called on senior staff to mitigate any staff shortages at its institutions over the weekend. No interruption of care has been reported on its territory.
The CIUSSS de la Mauricie et du Centre-du-Québec also reports that there have been no service interruptions so far. The organization claiming the use of TSO explained: “As a precaution, a heavy presence of managers in the field is being implemented this weekend in order to closely monitor the situation, mobilize teams and facilitate the transition between different shifts.” As a last resort.
Unions regard the frequent use of forced overtime as an “abusive management method” and a practice that “eliminates all employment opportunities for thousands of healthcare professionals,” as well as being “unacceptable” for patient safety.
Unions are calling for the formation of a short-term TSO. On Friday, the FIQ also sent out an official notice urging the health minister, Christian Dube, to end the “arbitrary use” of TSO by November 15.
For FIQ, the long-term solution to canceling OST is to have a professional/patient ratio. It also wants to modify the service offering rather than “imposing a disproportionate burden on small, exhausted work teams”, if it is understaffed.
Mr. Dube confirmed he wanted to eliminate TSO, but argued in the press on Friday that one solution to making that happen would be hiring staff.
According to him, managers at the moment should reorganize services. He also called on each of the parties involved to “add water to their wine” in an effort to find other innovative solutions.
Despite promises by Quebec to pay bonuses of up to several thousand dollars to bring the nurses back and allow more stable hours, the network has already come to a standstill, according to MI Hogan.
“Healthcare professionals are leaving, and some who are about to retire are leaving faster. Perhaps the means announced by the government will ensure that some will survive or return, but the shortage is so great that it is like a plaster on ulcers nowadays.”
At the CHU de Québec, there is a shortage of 500 nurses, 200 nursing assistants and 75 respiratory therapists, details MI Hogan, who also offers as a training payment solution to attract new recruits.
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