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The Quebec government on Thursday launched its latest round of negotiations with public sector unions, offering salary increases totalling 13 per cent over five years. The offer was almost immediately rejected by the unions.

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The announcement was made by Treasury Board president Sonia LeBel in the company of Health Minister Christian Dubé and Education Minister Bernard Drainville.

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Public sector contracts covering half a million government employees expire March 31. A common front of public sector unions is seeking pay raises over and above the rate of inflation — two per cent, three per cent and four per cent over three years.

Quebec is offering three per cent for the first year, followed by increases of 1.5 per cent for each of the following four years, for a total of nine per cent over five years.

The province contends the proposed salary hikes are in line with the inflation rate. It is also offering a $1,000 lump sum payment in the first year, which, when added to the salary increases, works out to a total offer of 13 per cent, LeBel said.

During negotiations for the last contracts, which took place during the pandemic, workers made notable gains, including official recognition for long-term care workers and salary adjustments for teachers. Workers at the bottom of their pay scale  received substantial pay increases.

Quebec offers public sector workers 13 per cent pay hike over 5 years

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