(Montreal) The two main unions of public servants in Quebec are watching with interest the telework agreement that has just been concluded by the Public Service Alliance of Canada. But one of them refuses the case-by-case principle that has been negotiated and says he wants to “avoid the favouritism” that this could entail.
Teleworking is one of the main demands of the Union of Public and Parapublic Service of Quebec (SFPQ) and the Union of Professionals of the Government of Quebec (SPGQ) in the context of the negotiation of their collective agreements with Quebec.
The PSAC has negotiated a letter of agreement which stipulates that managers will have to assess telework requests individually, and not by group, and respond to them in writing.
This letter of understanding also provides for the creation of committees in the departments and organizations that will allow the union and the employer to discuss the application of the telework policy.
“They’ve had some interesting advancements. But for us, it is clearly not far enough. They have taken some interesting steps compared to what they had, but compared to what we want, we have to go much further, ”assessed Christian Daigle, general president of the SFPQ.
“On our side, we want to eliminate the favoritism” that can lead to the individual treatment of telework requests, he explains. “We don’t want it to stay at the individual level. We want to ensure fairness for all the people we represent,” adds Mr. Daigle.
The Treasury Board directive stipulates that the employee works at least two days a week in the office.
But, according to Mr. Daigle, “there are too many disparities right now.” The Treasury Board directive “is applied differently from department to department, from branch to branch. For us, it is unthinkable that we can have as many differences as that. »
The SPGQ mainly denounces what it calls “the rigidity” of the Treasury Board.
“The key word for us is the notion of flexibility. What we have mainly denounced for the past two years is the rigidity of the Treasury Board’s framework policy that applies to our professionals: stay two days a week at the office for everyone, we carpet wall to wall,” reports Guillaume Bouvrette, president of the SPGQ.
He gives the example of employees assigned to budget planning who would benefit from working five days a week together in the office, during a strategic period of the year, and then could then spend more time alone at home, concentrated, doing of the analysis.
“The mistake is thinking there’s only one recipe, when what works — studies and data are starting to emerge all over the place — is trusting people, it’s giving that flexibility and letting people choose when their work is best delivered,” summarized Mr. Bouvrette.
He argues to the government that “it doesn’t cost him a penny more” to promote teleworking when possible.
“Telework requires a management method that is different, it requires no longer necessarily controlling working hours […] and it requires management by results, by mandates, to give people professional autonomy and to ask people to deliver.
“We have been living it for three years and clearly, we have shown that in the Quebec public service, it works. It absolutely works. And there hasn’t been a drop in productivity, even on the contrary, in some cases it’s more increases and an increase in people’s satisfaction,” concludes Mr. Bouvrette.