Compensation: the private sector has caught up with the Quebec public administration

The overall compensation of employees in the Quebec administration lost this year the slight lead it had held for ten years compared to employees in the private sector. She still lags more than 25% behind other public service employees.

This is what emerges from an annual report published on Tuesday by the Institut de la statistique du Québec (ISQ). Overall, Quebec government employees obtained total compensation 9.4% lower than that of other Quebec employees working in a company with at least 200 employees.

The situation remains relatively stable compared to the 9.2% difference recorded in 2020, but this difference has increased over ten years, compared to 6.1% in 2012.

This gap represents a threat to public services in a context of labor shortage, warns Daniel Boyer, president of the Federation of Workers of Quebec (FTQ). “We’re going to have to correct things at some point,” he reacts in an interview. Otherwise, we will have more and more difficulty in attracting and retaining skilled labor to provide services to the population. ”

Loss of advantage over the private sector

However, the picture is very different when compared with employees in the private sector and those in other public administrations.

In 2021, employees of the Quebec government had overall compensation 1.6% lower than that of employees in the private sector. The ISQ believes that this small difference represents a situation of parity. In 2012, total compensation showed a slight advance of 3.3% in favor of provincial government employees.

The gap is likely to increase with the private sector in a context of labor scarcity that allows employees to improve their working conditions, believes Mr. Boyer. “We will find more and more social benefits in the private sector because people have realized that work-family balance is important, and that vacations are important.”

The gap remains between employees of the provincial administration and other employees of the public sector, which includes universities, municipalities with at least 25,000 inhabitants and Quebec employees of the federal government. In 2021, the difference was 27.5% to the detriment of employees of the Quebec administration. This gap remains relatively stable compared to 28.3% in 2020 and 26.2% in 2012.

Next negotiations

Quebec will have to tackle the problem in the next round of negotiations to ensure the sustainability of public services, argues Mr. Boyer. The agreements of the majority of employees in the Quebec public administration expire on March 23, 2023.

Trade unions will have to submit their demands in October 2022 to start the negotiation process. At the FTQ, we are about to begin the member consultation process in order to present a proposal to the government in October 2022.

A public reflection on the subject is necessary, adds the president of the FTQ. “We are still in the same dilemma: that it is the money of citizens who pay via their taxes and their taxes and if we increase overall remuneration, we will pay more. It’s always the same case, ”he said.

“At the same time, do we want to provide quality services? I think that all of the people in Quebec have noticed that the public network is in jeopardy. If we can’t see it, it’s a shame, but we won’t have the services we should expect. ”

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