Negotiations began again in earnest
at the end of August. Gains that we had struggled for in exploratory talks in
June had to be fought for anew. The going was slow.
These negotiations have become
a fight to protect parts of our collective agreement that we have striven for and acquired over several decades and a push
to eke out a few gains where possible.
As of September
20, 2005 talks were at an impasse. Our negotiators
felt that further progress could not be made without a new mandate from the QPAT/FSE.
At no time have our negotiators refused to bargain, nor have they left the table.
A mutually agreed to hiatus occurred to allow our negotiators time to consult the governing bodies of their respective
organizations. A strategy had to be devised to provide our negotiators with more
clout and to send a message to the government negotiators that the teachers want a contract now. Matters have dragged on long enough.
With this in mind, the QPAT Board
of Directors met on September 23, 2005 and the Conseil fédéral of the FSE met on September 22/23/24/25. After
much debate the following ultimatum was issued to the government on Sunday, September 25:
That within 48 hours the government negotiators accept to return to the table with renewed mandates. That outstanding issues be resolved by October
5, 2005, International Teachers’ Day, or else general meetings will be called to
seek stronger action mandates.
Within hours of issuing our ultimatum,
the Treasury Board President Monique Jérôme-Forget, mandated government negotiators to return to the table as of Tuesday morning,
September 27. This is a hopeful sign.
Where are we now?
Gains: To date, we have made gains in areas
such as: an increase in salary insurance benefits from 70% to 75% of salary in year one; an improvement to the clause providing
for a gradual return to work for those on salary insurance; an increase in PIC funding; a lengthening of certain part-time
contracts; an improvement in the seniority system for part-time teachers in the youth, adult, and vocational sectors; a change
in the remuneration for occasional substitute teachers, and improvements for multi-grade classes.
Protection of Acquired Rights: The following
items were deposited by the employer but were withdrawn as a result of our arguments to the contrary: attempts to increase
teaching workload by adding to the list of duties in Chapter 8; modification of clauses on the recognition of years of experience;
modification clauses governing the school calendar and the date of the beginning of the school year; obliging elementary teachers
to do remediation with students other than their own, and allowing the principal to assign extra-curricular activities.
Major Outstanding Issues
The following remain unresolved: The government
desire to abolish the 50 km limit for the assignment of teachers on availability; the protection of regular permanent positions
in the adult and vocational sectors gained since 1998; services for special education students; salary remains at 8% over
six years nine months; no new offers have been made on pension issues.