In a press scrum during the event, FAE President Mélanie Hubert pointed out that the union organization wanted to remind people that only ten days remained until a satisfactory agreement was reached. (Photo: The Canadian Press/Jacques Boissinot)
Ten days before the start of a potentially indefinite general strike, the Autonomous Education Association (FAE) demonstrated on Monday morning in front of Prime Minister François Legault’s office in Montreal.
Around fifty members of the FAE gathered in the city center of the metropolis to remind the Prime Minister of his promise to make education a real priority.
In a press release, the FAE also emphasized the “key role” that the Prime Minister could play in the “outcome of the negotiations”.
In a press scrum during the event, FAE President Mélanie Hubert pointed out that the union organization wanted to remind people that only ten days remained until a satisfactory agreement was reached.
“The sprint has begun,” she reiterated in a telephone interview with The Canadian Press. We call on Prime Minister Legault to behave like a great head of state during the election campaign and to keep his promise. […] We ask him to make all necessary efforts to remove the impasses and reach a satisfactory agreement.”
FAE members are demanding annual salary increases of 4% or those that keep pace with inflation, Mélanie Hubert added. “Mr. Legault likes to compare Quebec with Ontario, but we don’t even ask for that much, we just want to reach the Canadian average,” argued the unionist.
There are also calls for a tightening of salary levels from 13 to 10 and greater flexibility for teleworking on training days.
“Teachers are demanding a better work-life balance,” explained Mélanie Hubert. Many people have access to teleworking, but for us it is more difficult.”
The president hopes that a “political will” will be expressed to solve the problem, in particular to give teachers the opportunity to carry out their planning and correction at the place and time that suits them.
Best service offering
However, according to Mélanie Hubert, the “heart” of the negotiations lies in a sufficient range of services to cover the needs identified in the schools.
“We want the composition of the class to be more balanced, for both teachers and students, so that services are provided for children with high needs,” she explained.
The FAE calls, among other things, for the creation of reception classes for students with a migrant background, as it believes that immersion is not enough to optimize their integration.
“Teaching French as a second language is a profession in itself,” notes Ms. Hubert. It’s a different university education and adapted programs.”
“We demand that school service centers implement reception protocols that include these classes, although this is not currently the case,” she added.
Unlimited general strike
Without an agreement, the 65,000 primary and secondary school teachers who are members of the FAE will launch their indefinite general strike from November 23rd.
Unlike the all-union Common Front and the FIQ, the FAE will launch an indefinite general strike immediately, rather than one or more days of strike before, as is the case with the other two.
The FAE is an independent group that represents around 65,000 primary and secondary teachers through its nine unions.
The nine unions of the FAE are the Montreal Teachers’ Alliance, the West Montreal Teaching Union, the Pointe-de-l’Île Teaching Union, the Teaching Union of the Laval Region, the Basses-Laurentides Teaching Union, the Seigneuries Teaching Union, the Outaouais Teaching Union, the Haute-Yamaska Teaching Union and the Quebec Region Teaching Union.
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