For immediate distribution
QESBA calls for immediate resumption of negotiations
The gap must be closed now, not next fall
Montreal, June 21, 2005 - In a statement issued today, the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) called
urgently upon the government and unions representing public school employees to find a way to settle salary issues now, rather
than waiting for the fall. QESBA is the eventual signatory to collective agreements with some 13,000 employees in English
public education in Quebec. The government alone holds the mandate to settle salary issues.
“A stalemate this spring cannot be an option,” QESBA President Marcus Tabachnick
noted. “Through some very difficult negotiations, the school boards, the unions and the Ministry of Education have made
substantial progress on important educational and organizational issues. That progress, and the chance for a peaceful and
productive school opening next fall are now both in peril. QESBA expects the government and the unions to spare no effort
in closing the salary gap, so that negotiations towards a collective agreement by the end of this month can reach a successful
“The stakes are too high to put a settlement aside,” Tabachnick concluded.
“There is much work still to be done, but the negotiations on non-salary matters were leading us towards a new and more
collaborative arrangement with teachers in organizing educational services tailored to the needs of each school. Important
new funds for staffing, while never sufficient, were on the table for school boards across the province. There was $100 million
designated for new educational resources, with the unions and the employer making progress on how to best implement those
resources. More important, our students, parents and staff were looking forward to a positive conclusion to the school year,
and the prospect of a new and productive beginning in the fall. That momentum must be regained.
If the union and the government don’t find the ways to responsibly close the remaining
salary gap, our children are going to suffer as a result, and that’s unacceptable. The kinds of pressure tactics that
unions have promised, beginning immediately and intensifying next fall, could have an impact on student evaluation, extra-curricular
activities and many other aspects of student life.
“QESBA respects and recognizes the duty of the Quebec government to manage public
finances responsibly. We similarly understand the right of teachers, professionals and support staff to be fairly compensated
for their work. QESBA is nevertheless convinced that those two legitimate considerations can and must be reconciled through
a return to the negotiating table right now, not next fall. Our students and their parents will expect no less. QESBA will
play whatever role it can to facilitate this process, and to pursue a swift and constructive agreement on the non-monetary
matters where we are a negotiating partner.
Hamilton, Communications and Special Projects Officer
(514) 849-5900, ext. 225