The flea market of public services

Le marché aux puces des services publics

In a flea market (this is even more true in Mexico), everything is negotiable. Two hundred pesos for this hat ? The seller exclaimed : “never, never, I can not ! “and four minutes after you leave. And finally, if I also take a belt, and a tablecloth, I picked up that hat for one hundred pesos.

At the flea market, this is legitimate. At the limit, this is a game in which two parties submit their interest to perhaps arrive at a simple commercial transaction. The idea that everything should be as subject to the negotiation when it is a question of public services gives me the creeps.


The question is of interest this week. In view of the negotiations in the public sector, the trade unions put the foot on the ground : everything must pass by the tables of negotiations. In a well-structured, the general secretary of the FTQ has expressed his point of view. “The table of negotiations : the shortest path to rebuilding health and education “. How clear to say that the heart of the public service is to be discussed at the table !

In its argument, the trade unionist Denis Bolduc rejects the idea of other forums of discussion on issues such as educational achievement, access to health care or long-term accommodation. Why ? His words are clear : “these topics are and will be part of the ongoing negotiations “.

I do not deny the idea that men and women who work in the public services have at heart the improvement of the services of the personal point of view. Where to submit fully to the process of trade union and at the bargaining table the future of services that cater to the entire population throws me to the ground. Services for which the population pays taxes and fees overwhelming.

What is a government elected ?

In the same week, a question arose as to the parliamentary Commission on education. The government wants to impose a 30-hour in-service training to teachers in the text of the act 40. Trade unions and opposition parties are said to be outraged : such a discussion should take place strictly at the bargaining table. Pardon ???

The government elected by the whole population can still establish standards of quality for our public services ? It seems to me that it is to do things in the right order. First, to establish the principle of continuous training for teachers to ensure everyone a quality education. Then, discuss the terms of schedule and compensation with the representatives of the teachers.

I have already asked this question in these pages. I repeat : is that everything is negotiable ? It is urgent that we spoke as a society a big no to that. I have great respect for the people who work in the public services, but these services do not belong to you.

I’m still looking to understand how trade unionists can support both that the public services are sacred, but everything is negotiable.

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