More than 400 teachers with the Western Quebec Teachers’ Association (WQTA), in 14 schools across the Western Quebec School Board (WQSB) territory, are gearing up for a possible strike. This comes after their francophone counterpart, the Syndicat de l’enseignement de l’Outaouais (SEO) associated with the Fédération autonome de l’enseignement (FAE), announced on September 8 that its 34,000 teachers would strike on September 30.
Elementary, secondary, vocational and adult-ed teachers with the Commission scolaires des Portages-de-l’Outaouais, des Draveurs and Cœur-des-Vallées are part of the strike plan; but teachers with the WQSB and the Commission scolaire des Hauts-Bois-de-l’Outaouais are not. Eight unions will strike for a second time on a rotating basis between October 14 and 30.
This move has increased pressure on the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers (QPAT) who
represent the WQTA.
QPAT, the Fédération des syndicats de l’enseignement (FSE), and the Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ) are negotiating teachers’ working conditions.
On September 2, the CSQ General Negotiations Council (GNC) met to assess the progress of negotiations on both
“sectoral and intersectoral matters”.
Intersectorial matters include salaries, pensions, group insurance, regional disparities, and parental rights – all of which are negotiated between the common front and Québec’s Treasury Board. Sectorial negotiations include employment conditions, fringe benefits (excluding insurance and parental rights), and some remuneration mechanisms and job security.
GNC negotiators are examining strategies to advance discussions with the Management Nego-tiating Committee for English-language School Boards (CPNCA). They include on-the-job pressure tactics and the possibility of a strike.
The GNC wants improvements to teachers’ salaries. Quebec’s Treasury Board offered teachers a 3% wage increase in a five-year agreement: a freeze for the first two years and a 1% yearly increase for the last three years.
The yearly salary increase in the latest
contract was 0.5 %, 0.75%, 1%, 1.75% and 2% for the fifth year. Average annual inflation between 2010 and 2015 reached 1.55%, according to the Bank of Canada.
GNC delegates demonstrated in front of the offices of the Treasury Board in Québec, September 2. “We have no intention of letting our working and living
further!” said Louise Chabot, CSQ president.