Montreal

Thousands of Quebec teachers to strike for 2 days this fall

Thousands of teachers in the province's French-language system will strike to protest against the government's cost-cutting measures.

Teachers walk off the job to protest against cost-cutting measures and the pace of negotiations

Teachers at several French-language schools in the province will go on strike on Sept. 30. (Robert MacPherson/AFP/Getty)

Thousands of teachers in the French-language school system in Quebec will go on strike for two days over the next few weeks.

The first day will be Sept. 30 and a second strike day will be rotated through school boards between Oct. 14 and Oct. 30.

Sylvain Mallette, head of the Fédération Autonome de L'Enseignement made the announcement at a news conference on Tuesday morning in Montreal.

The following schools and school boards could be affected by the strike:

  • CSDM.
  • Peter Hall.
  • Centre académique Fournier.
  • Commission scolaire de la Seigneurie des Mille-Îles.
  • Commission scolaire du Val-des-Cerfs.
  • Commission scolaire de Portages-de-l'Outaouais.
  • Commission scolaire de Draveurs et au Cœur-des-Vallées.
  • Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys.
  • Commission scolaire de la Pointe-de-l'Île.
  • Commission scolaire de Laval.
  • Commission scolaire des Trois-Lacs.

The federation has the mandate to go on strike for a third day, but so far they haven't announced the date.

Sylvain Mallette, head of the Fédération Autonome de L'Enseignement, addresses media at a news conference on Tuesday morning. (CBC)

Mallette said teachers are demonstrating over cost-cutting measures and the pace of negotiations.

"In the last few years, public schools have been hurt by budget restraints and cuts," he said.

"We're at more than $1 billion in budget restraints and we're asking teachers to do more with less."

Teachers say they have parents' support

In March, the Quebec government announced the province's education budget would see an increase of only 0.2 per cent, which amounts to a cut, when the rate of inflation is factored in. 

Mallette said he's confident teachers have the support of parents. 

The FAE only has to give seven business days notice before it strikes, but Mallette said they opted to announce now so that parents have time to make alternate plans for their children.

The FAE represents eight unions and about 34,000 teachers in the province's French-language school system.

English teachers may strike in the fall

Richard Goldfinch, head of the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers, which represents teachers in English school boards, said his union doesn't want to strike for now, but respects each union's right to decide what's best for themselves.

A strike vote will be held later this month for the union, he said, and there was wide support for one when he canvassed teachers in the spring.

"Once we have that vote, we then know that we have that tool if we have to use it and we're at that point where we need to ask for it," Goldfinch said.

The union hopes the strike vote by its members, and the expected strike by the FAE, helps negotiations. But Goldfinch said negotiations this time around are much tougher than those held in 2010.

''But at the same time...if they (the government) doesn't come to the table with some real offers at this point, then we will continue going down this road.''

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