QUEBEC CITY, April 1, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Frustrated by the lack of satisfactory results at the bargaining table and the government’s disregard of the priorities expressed by teachers, the Fédération des syndicats de l’enseignement (FSE-CSQ) and Quebec Professional Association of Teachers (APEQ-QPAT) announced today the first legal strike action for the teachers they represent, which will take place on April 14, 2021, from 12:01 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. They were joined by Ms. Sonia Éthier, President of the CSQ, for this announcement.
The FSE-CSQ and APEQ-QPAT therefore blazed a new trail by implementing for the first time the principle of short-term strikes in the education sector. The objective of this approach is to disrupt school administration while minimizing the impact on educational services. This event is planned to eventually occur more often, as well as in combination or succession with strikes that may be exercised by the CSQ’s other associations, which all have a strike mandate of up to five days, to be enacted at the appropriate time.
“We aren’t thrilled to be talking about a strike today. This is happening because teachers want significant changes in their working conditions, which are also directly related to student learning conditions. However, what little is offered after years of undercutting falls short of this goal. We’re always told that this isn’t the right time to strike. Unfortunately, the levee has broken, the profession is in crisis and significant improvements are needed to attract and retain teachers,” said Josée Scalabrini, President of the FSE-CSQ. “The government is passing minor measures with no real backing at a time when something has to be done, and the situation has gotten even worse since the pandemic began. We need a much clearer commitment than the one we’ve been getting,” she added.
Many agree with Heidi Yetman that: “teachers are making a heartfelt plea and the government just won’t listen to them. They are overworked, exhausted, and leave the profession. After all the broken promises to make education a priority, the anger and determination shown by teachers today should come as no surprise. They are fighting for a whole network that’s been neglected by one government after another. What will it take to make them realize that everything they invest in teachers is for the benefit of students? When we value education, we take care of those who work in that field every day,” explained the President of the APEQ.
Ms. Sonia Éthier, President of the CSQ, stressed that “women dominate the teaching profession, and Quebec teachers are still the lowest paid in Canada. The pandemic has underscored the vital importance of jobs in the service of people, including children, students, the sick and the elderly. It’s time to give them the recognition they deserve by improving their working conditions and salary. Since it’s the government that wanted to negotiate during the pandemic instead of postponing talks, it must now respond to the teachers’ key demands. If education is a real priority, the government must take action, because words alone are no longer enough for teachers, who are at the end of their rope.”
To celebrate April Fool’s Day with a touch of humour, the FSE-CSQ also created a banner and ads that say: “Education, the Legault Government’s TOP Priority. April Fool’s!” This message reflects the extent of teachers’ disillusionment and disappointment with the government’s treatment of them.
Teachers in Quebec have been working without a contract for more than a year. They are calling for significant improvements in their day-to-day, notably through better class composition and additional services, a lighter workload, better wages and less uncertainty.
The Fédération des syndicats de l’enseignement (FSE-CSQ) is composed of 34 unions representing more than 65,000 teachers in school service centres and school boards across Quebec. Its membership includes teachers from all sectors, including pre-school, primary, secondary, vocational and general adult education. It is affiliated with the Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ) and negotiates in collaboration with the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers (APEQ-QPAT), which represents the 8,000 teachers in Quebec’s English school boards. Together, they represent 73,000 teachers.
SOURCE Fédération des syndicats de l’enseignement (CSQ)