Latest Developments at the Bargaining Tables
It’s been a busy few weeks at the negotiation tables. We’re continuing our sessions at a steady pace as we head into summer. We’re not seeing any acceleration in our work pace, but rather a continuation of our regular discussions–approximately one meeting every ten days at the Francophone table, and the same on the Anglophone side.
Our detailed presentation of our demands and the arguments that support them are completed, and we’ve recently been discussing the openness (or lack thereof) of the employer side to our demands.
Despite well-founded and well-documented, the solutions proposed by the union side to counter the shortage of professionals in the school sector has gained little responses from service centres, school boards, and the ministère de l’Éducation. It’s becoming clear that we’re at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of our vision of the problem. For the employer, it’s unthinkable to authorize more absences, to review certain leaves or to provide accommodations for family life given that they feel like they cannot cut any of the services. For our part, we believe that with greater flexibility and better working conditions professionals will want to work in schools, and positions will be filled. We’re facing a major hurdle, and we’ll need to mobilize to convince the employer of the necessity to review working and practice conditions.
While the employer side shows a cautious openness to some of our demands, it adopts a more assertive stance on its own issues and priorities. It also refuses to discuss many issues at our table, arguing that certain subjects should be discussed at another table, that of the Front commun, where subjects that are common to all employees, such as retirement and wage increases, are discussed. However, we fear that issues specific to professionals will receive very little attention at the central table, since they obviously don’t affect all employees.
In this context, we’ll continue our work until mid-July. After that, we’ll be taking a break for a few weeks, hopefully returning to our constructive work at the end of August.
Rest assured that we’re putting all our energies to convince the employer side of the validity of our demands. We sincerely believe that our proposals are effective, relevant, and beneficial to our members, and we expect the employer side to treat the shortage of professionals issue as seriously, just as we do with the proposals put forward by the union side. We’ll certainly need to step up our efforts this fall if we hope to reach a collective agreement that meets our expectations and reflects the importance of professional staff to the success of all students.
Northern Bargaining Tables
For the Cree and Kativik tables (P3 and P4), as for the other Front commun tables, requests for mediation and the first meetings with the conciliators took place during the first week of June.
The union side has completed the presentation of all its demands to the Kativik table, and discussions will continue over the summer with the employer side, who has announced that it intends to provide its position on some of our demands at our next meeting.
For the Cree table, the presentation of union demands is well underway, and we have had several questions for clarification. We’ll be able to complete the presentation of all our demands at our next meeting once we return from the summer vacation.
Enjoy your vacation!