Montreal, April 29, 2021 – Some 10 000 education professionals, members of unions affiliated with the Fédération des professionnelles et professionnels de l’éducation du Québec (FPPE-CSQ), are on strike this morning to denounce the deadlock in negotiations, and the ludicrous and unimproved offers, in spite of more than a year at the negotiating table.
Jacques Landry, president of the FPPE-CSQ, maintains that negotiations are taking place with government spokespersons who do not seem to be aware of the seriousness of the situation in Quebec schools.
“Across Quebec, the shortage of professionals has become so dire that only students with the most urgent needs have access to services, while hundreds of others are left on waiting lists for years. It makes absolutely no sense. This government’s inaction jeopardizes the right of all students to have access to the same services. This is significant,” criticizes Jacques Landry.
The Premier must act in the best interests of students
Landry adds that the Legault government must seize the opportunity offered by this negotiation to seriously discuss with its union counterparts and provide real solutions to the urgent problems faced by education professionals on a daily basis.
“A recent survey amongst all our members across Quebec revealed that an abnormally high number are seriously considering quitting their jobs because of unbearable working conditions, lack of recognition and inacceptable salary. Premier François Legault cannot sit idly by, doing nothing. He has a duty and a responsibility to act to prevent further depletion of professional resources at a time when providing services to students is no longer a given,” explains the president of the FPPE-CSQ.
Steps to take before it’s too late
Jacques Landry adds that the current issues of attraction and retention of professional staff mean that the workload has become excessive—discouraging many from continuing and others from even beginning.
“The government must absolutely take action to make these jobs attractive again, otherwise the situation will continue to decline and the lack of resource problem will become insurmountable. Now, more than ever, we must ask ourselves: Do we really want public services in education? If the Legault government truly cares about the quality of education in Quebec—as it claims—it needs to act decisively,” commented the union leader.
A heartfelt appeal that must be heard by the government
Along the same lines, the president of the Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ), Sonia Ethier, adds that the Legault government must view today’s strike as more than just a pressure tactic.
“The message sent by the education professionals on strike is a heartfelt one—demanding better working conditions and better services for students in difficulty or those with special needs. Despite the urgent need to foster professional staff retention in schools and school service centres, the government’s refusal to improve its offers suggests a callous indifference to the fate of students. Let us remind you that the working conditions of public service workers affect each and every one of us,” says Sonia Ethier.
More strike days to come?
The president of the FPPE-CSQ hopes that today’s appeal by 10 000 education professionals will be heard in Québec City and result in greater openness at the negotiating table.
“I want to mention that our members have granted us a five-day strike mandate and we will not hesitate to exercise it, if needed,” concludes Jacques Landry.
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About the FPPE-CSQ
The Fédération des professionnelles et professionnels de l’éducation du Québec (FPPE-CSQ) represents 19 unions bringing together 10 000 members from nearly all of Quebec’s French- and English-speaking school service centres, as well as Cree and Kativik school boards. It has among its members different categories of staff in the administrative and educational sectors, and direct services to students (among others, psychologists, psychoeducators, speech therapists, guidance counsellors, remedial teachers, etc.)
Cell: 514 237-4432