Union representing over 30,000 school workers suspends planned Thursday strike

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A planned strike by 33,000 Quebec school support employees, which was to have begun on Thursday morning, has been suspended.

The strike plan, as initially presented, would have seen members of the Centrale des Unions de Quebec (CSN) members in the French-speaking networking striking from 12:01 a.m. until noon, with their colleagues in the English networking following from noon to 8 p.m.

The Francophone school services centres involved are: Energy, Riveraine, Draveurs, Portages-de-l'Outaouais, Jonquire, Trois-Lacs, Laval, Beauce-Etchemin, Premieres-Seigneuries, Riviere-du-Nord, Rives-du-Saguenay, Region-de-Sherbrooke, Pointe-de-l'Ile, Chic-Chocs, des Iles, des Patriotes, de la Vallee-des-Tisserands, du Fer and Littoral.

The two English-language school boards affected are Eastern Townships and Eastern Shores.

The support employees work in school daycare services and as janitors, specialized workers, secretaries, special education technicians and more.

On Wednesday, the Federation de personnel de soutien scolaire, which is affliated with the CSQ, said it would suspend the strike day from Thursday.

The federation said it wishes to change its strategy as negotiations with the province to renew its collective agreement has not progressed.

“We will now use a yo-yo strategy,” said the union in a message to members.

The union said they will announce strike days, but may change plans at the last minute.

“In the future, we will announce strike days which may or may not take place... As the government does not respect any usual negotiation rules, we have chosen to play their game.”

On Facebook, union members critized the federation, saying they fear losing credibility in their pressure tactics and of losing support from parents who will have to alter their plans if a strike doesn't take place.

Last week, school support employees who are members of unions affiliated with the FTQ reached an agreement in principle with the provincial government. Members of unions attached to the Federation des employes des services publics, which is itself affiliated with the CSN, have made “significant process” in their own negotiations.  

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on June 2, 2021.

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