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FTQ Congress | The regulation of teleworking will be discussed at the next FTQ convention



(Montreal) FTQ delegates will be called upon to decide on the regulation of telework and the obligation to negotiate the terms between employers and unions.

These ideas are part of a Policy Statement on the COVID-19 Pandemic, which will be submitted to the 1,200 delegates attending the 33e convention of the Quebec Federation of Labor (FTQ), which will take place next week in Montreal.

This Declaration also refers to the principle that telework must be voluntary, reversible and that a right to disconnect must be provided outside working hours.

The Declaration also talks about compensating employees who cannot work from home, using means such as offering them the four-day week.

The COVID Policy Statement also calls for adapting anti-scab provisions to the telework context.

As worded, the anti-scab provisions of the Quebec Labor Code prohibit the use of replacement workers “in the establishment” affected by a labor dispute. But what is “the establishment” when employees are telecommuting?

A collective right of refusal

As a lesson learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Declaration also asks the FTQ to claim a “collective right of refusal” when working conditions are no longer safe.

She recalls the lack of masks and personal protective equipment at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, then the ventilation problem in schools.

The right of refusal is currently enshrined in the Act respecting occupational health and safety. It allows a worker to refuse to perform certain tasks, respecting certain conditions and procedures, if he considers that this task is dangerous for him.

The COVID Declaration asks the FTQ to demand that a collective right of refusal be added, as well as an increase in the number of inspectors and more rigorous application of the Act respecting occupational health and safety.

Regulate the powers of government

Many union members in the health sector have not digested having had working conditions imposed on them and having clauses in their collective agreements circumvented during the pandemic.

Consequently, the COVID Declaration submitted to the delegates asks the FTQ to demand that the right of association be respected and to demand that the imposition of working conditions by decree cease.

It also asks the FTQ to demand amendments to the Public Health Act, so as to “better regulate, by democratic means, the power of the government in the event of a health crisis and force it to account”.

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