Nurses in Quebec went on strike earlier this week over being “taken hostage” and forced to work mandatory overtime.
The Labour Administration Tribunal ordered nurses to “unconditionally accept” requests for overtime from employers in “urgent and exceptional situations.” The nurses’ union said healthcare facilities abuse requests for forced overtime. The “exceptional situations” are regular occurrences. The nurses never know when they will be forced into taking overtime, the requests often come in at the very end of a shift.
The Quebec Order of Nurses’ said mandatory overtime “should be an exceptional or emergency measure, but not a management tool to be used to compensate for a foreseeable lack of staff.”
The 12-hour shifts expected of the nurses ‘easily’ extend to 20 hours with limited notice, union representatives said.
Quebec’s largest nurses’ union staged the overtime strike to call attention to what its members say is a chronic problem, putting undue strain on healthcare workers.