Montreal

ASSÉ recommends postponing student protests

The executive committee of Quebec student union ASSÉ is recommending student protesters delay their actions until after the summer.

Executive committee wants "strategic withdrawal" and larger strike action with trade unions in fall

The independent student protest group "Printemps 2015" calls ASSÉ's recommendations "paternalistic." (CBC)

The executive committee of Quebec student union association ASSÉ is recommending student protesters delay their strike actions until after the summer. 

In a four-page letter to its members, the organization suggests a "strategic withdrawal" from an unlimited strike and planning larger actions with trade unions in the coming months.   

The original plan was to launch the strike on April 7.

"It is possible to ensure that non-renewal of the strike in the spring is not a failure, but rather a strategic retreat," says the letter.

ASSÉ represents 82,000 CEGEP and university-level students in 43 member student unions throughout Quebec.

The executive committee wrote that it fears that an unsuccessful student protest movement now will hurt the public sector workers preparing for possible strikes this fall.

"I think the idea of talking about the strategy of this fall is that we're also talking about the negotiations that are happening in the public sector also with the labour unions," said ASSÉ spokesperson Camille Godbout.

The letter comes ahead of ASSÉ's general assembly in Valleyfield next month. The executive committee says it's worried continuing strike action could be voted down at the meeting.

"We can't deny that it will be considered a defeat," wrote the committee.

The independent student protest group "Printemps 2015" was quick to criticize ASSÉ for making the recommendation. 

"Abandoning does not only mean putting an end to a movement hitherto unseen in terms of the radicalism of its demands and the autonomy of its forms, but most importantly means abandoning necessary struggles," says a post on the Printemps 2015 website. 

"Being overtaken by its base should always be good news for a union, rather than a threat to the strategic plan of a paternalistic leadership." 

ASSÉ still plans to hold a province-wide strike on April 2.

However, the executive committee will be holding a meeting this weekend to decide on an official position.

Godbout said it is up to the individual student associations to decide when to strike.

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