Montréal, January 28, 2003 - As part of the process of renewing the collective agreements with its eight different employee unions, Héma-Québec and union representatives began interest-based bargaining in the spring of 2000.

Interest-based bargaining implies that the two parties discuss their common problems and agree to joint solutions (e.g. absenteeism, work schedules, etc.). "Interest-based bargaining is a serious procedure that requires participants to invest their time and resources. In the end, it is a win-win approach for everyone," explained Mr. André Roch, Assistant to the Executive Director, Public Affairs at Héma-Québec.

To date, bargaining has resulted in the ratification of four agreements by four different unions. Another draft agreement was recently rejected by members of another union, contrary to the recommendations of its executive, and three draft agreements remain to be concluded with the CSN. One of the agreements that remains to be settled is with the Syndicat des travailleuses et travailleurs d'Héma-Québec. The major points that remain to be resolved concern the pension and group insurance plans. Héma-Québec considers that progress is being made, since two meetings between the negotiators for the two parties and their actuaries have already been set for January 29 and January 30.

Created in September 1998, Héma-Québec's mission is to efficiently provide adequate quantities of safe, top-quality blood components and substitutes to meet the needs of all Quebeckers, as well as to provide and develop expertise and services, along with specialized and innovative products, in the fields of transfusion medicine and human tissue transplantation. To carry out this mission, Héma-Québec applies high standards that have already allowed it to distinguish itself not only in Canada, but also in North America and around the world.

Even though Héma-Québec is aiming to become the leading supplier of blood products in North America before the year 2005, no blood product is sold to the United Sates. Héma-Québec does, however, do business with an American supplier for the fractionation of blood products. The proteins contained in one of the components of blood, plasma, can also be used to prepare stable products. Since there is no plasma fractionating facility in Canada, the Bayer company in the United States carries out the fractionation on behalf of Héma-Québec and returns the fractionated products to it.

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