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Quebec English School Boards Association


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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 conclusion.


“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.

Contact:             Kim Hamilton, Communications and Special Projects Officer

                        (514) 849-5900, ext. 225




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