QUEBEC CITY, June 10, 2023 /CNW/ – Around 5,000 members of the Fédération des syndicats de l’enseignement (FSE-CSQ) and Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers (APEQ-QPAT) took the streets to demand that the Quebec government lighten the burden before they burn out.
The union members gathered at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec before heading to Parliament. They were welcomed on site by a musical performance by LBA BAND. Comedian Pierre Hébert, who has been supporting the teachers’ cause for several years, notably as part of the Prof, ma fierté! campaign, then took the stage, followed by the union representatives who made their statements.
“The 5,000 teachers gathered outside the National Assembly today are speaking on behalf of the entire profession when they stand united in saying that we must lighten their burden before they burn out. They are the beating heart of our schools and centres, let’s listen to them!” said Brigitte Bilodeau, Senior Vice-President of FSE-CSQ and Head of Engagement.
For several years, teachers have seen their workload become heavier and more complex. The integration of students in difficulty, the increased number of students who are learning French as a second language, the fact that schools are being used as a catch-all solution to society’s problems, and the ever-increasing number of intervention plans all create an additional burden that impacts teacher attraction and retention. “We just can’t do it anymore! We often work have to work at home in the evenings and on weekends, without recognition, and the moment we get to school, our employer piles on even more work, to a point where the most important part of our job – education – becomes an afterthought. The negotiation is an opportunity to improve teaching conditions before it is too late and teachers drop out! Teachers need some space and time. Let’s work together to find win-win solutions!” said Josée Scalabrini, FSE-CSQ President, summing up the teachers’ position.
As the shortage of legally qualified teachers intensifies every year, APEQ-QPAT President Heidi Yetman agrees: “Rather than valuing our professional autonomy, the employer wants more control over it. Requiring teachers to be present in schools to do things they can very well do at home is completely out of date. They are professionals who can use their own judgment as to whether situations require their physical presence.” Ms. Yetman and Ms. Scalabrini both noted that Bill 23 is in the same vein, as the minister wants to give himself the option to impose their type of education.
Despite what the President of the Treasury Board said last April, when she expressed the wish to see the pace of negotiations accelerated, the frequency of meetings remains unchanged for the time being until the summer because of the employer’s chronic unavailability. “We went from one meeting a week to one meeting every seven days,” Scalabrini said with irony.
The Fédération des syndicats de l’enseignement (FSE-CSQ) consists of 34 unions representing more than 87,000 teachers with school service centres and school boards across Quebec. Its members include 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-language school boards. Together, the FSE-CSQ and the APEQ-QPAT represent 95,000 teachers.
SOURCE Fédération des syndicats de l’enseignement (CSQ)