November 2004 / Volume 1
· Our last collective agreement expired in June 2003.
· Our demands at both sectorial and central tables were deposited by November 2003.
· Government offers appeared in March and June 2004.
· Mediation was requested and resulted in a report (September 2004) stating, in essence,
that the two sides are far apart and should continue to negotiate. The conclusion of the mediation process places us in a
position where work action, including strikes, is legal.
· Our negotiating team has been meeting regularly with the employer group since last
April. No significant progress has been made and at this juncture, the process
looks to be a long and arduous one.
The Situation in Our Schools
Teachers are faced with more and
more difficult working conditions. Multigrade classes abound. Special needs students continue to be “integrated”
without adequate services or support. Maximum class sizes are exceeded regularly. Adult and vocational education teachers
face job security issues. Behaviour problems and violence spread in our schools. More teachers than ever are on “burnout”
Our demand addresses the above
and seeks to improve working and learning conditions in our schools.
Contract renewal for teachers
is not a speedy process. The government is never in any hurry to grant pay increases
or to improve services to students. In the past 30 years, it was always the teachers,
not the bosses, who fought to bring about much needed changes to our schools. This
round will not be any different. Your commitment and participation will
again be essential.
Union leadership is presently
preparing the “battle plans” for the months to come. A first salvo
will be delivered this Fall with a demonstration and a letter campaign (more details coming soon).
Reminder 1: Renewal of our collective
agreement – A three-tiered process
Sectorial table Deals
with those working conditions
specific to teachers
(e.g. workload, job security, professional improvement).
Central table Deals with major monetary issues
common to all public and
(e.g. salary, pension, regional disparities).
Occur between the local union and the school board after
sectorial and central tables have reached agreement.
Reminder 2: Strength in numbers –
Our negotiations cartel
teachers (some 7 500 of us) have long benefitted from a negotiations cartel agreement with our francophone colleagues of the
FSE (approximately 75 000 of them). The coordination and solidarity between our
two organisations have been an effective response to the employers’ “divide and conquer strategy”.