QUÉBEC CITY, Dec. 18, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ - Upon reading the teacher-specific (sectoral) offers presented by the employer's negotiating committees earlier in the day, the Fédération des syndicats de l'enseignement (FSE-CSQ) and the Québec Provincial Association of Teachers (APEQ-QPAT) note that once again, the Government has demonstrated an obvious lack of consideration for teachers. Instead of giving them some room to breathe, they are asking them for even more than the last time.
Josée Scalabrini, the FSE-CSQ President, admits that she is very angry. "It is impossible even to imagine that the Government sees this as some kind of solution to the problems that exist in our schools," she said. "After campaigning with promises of changes to help teachers, the Government has served up the same old collection of increased workloads and employer clawbacks. We have already been down that particular path, and it has brought us collectively to a dead end. Teachers can no longer cope and students are paying the price. We are still in the early stages of the process, but in terms of attracting new people to the profession and showing teachers that they are valued, it is already a failure. We want to see real improvements to working conditions and to the problems facing teachers."
Despite the current shortage of teachers and the fact that many teachers are overworked, exhausted and fighting to keep schools afloat without the resources they need, the Government has proposed 80 potential solutions that actually increase what is being asked of them:
- More time in school
- Longer working days
- Heavier workloads
- Requirement to be available as needed
- Additional grounds for larger group sizes
- Abolition of the a priori weighting for students with special needs placed in regular classes
- New rules governing the formation of Secondary Cycle One groups
- Plans for weekend work in the vocational training and adult general education sectors
"We are truly disappointed and angry that the Government has not seen fit to make proposals that will improve the daily lives of teachers, encourage them to stay in the profession and attract newcomers," said QPAT President Heidi Yetman, who represents approximately 8,000 teachers in Québec's English school boards. "And yet, we have suggested a lot of solutions. We need a major effort after 15 years of cutbacks that have devalued the profession and damaged the system as a whole. It cannot go on, but the Government has not understood the message. It is very distressing to see the amount of control they want over our work, while at the same time completely ignoring the real needs."
Last week, the Government proposed the set up of forums to which no information has yet been made available. For the FSE-CSQ and the QPAT, there is a significant risk of control and confusion. "The Government is maintaining confusion regarding the roles of the forums, including the one on educational success," said Luc Gravel, Vice-President of Labour Relations at the FSE-CSQ. "Despite the Minister's repeated promises regarding class composition and services to students, nothing positive has been offered in this respect. It is truly heartbreaking."
The FSE-CSQ and the QPAT will be examining the employer's documents in detail over the next few days, but one thing is certain: teachers will be asked to take action, and will be ready and willing to do so.
The Fédération des syndicats de l'enseignement (FSE-CSQ) is a grouping of 34 unions representing more than 65,000 teachers from school boards throughout Québec. Its membership includes teachers from the preschool, elementary, secondary, vocational training and adult general education sectors. It is affiliated with the Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ) and negotiates jointly with the Québec Provincial Association of Teachers (APEQ‑QPAT), which represents the 8,000 teachers in Québec's English school boards. Together, they represent a total of 73,000 teachers.
SOURCE Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers