Why did CSQ unions representing the staff at the Cree and Kativik school boards go on strike?

The unions affiliated with the Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ) that represent the staff at the Cree and Kativik school boards initiated a strike in April 2021. Here’s why.

The facts

The collective agreements for the teaching, support and professional staff at the Cree and Kativik school boards expired 18 months ago. The CSQ unions have been negotiating with the government ever since that time.

There is a shortage of staff in all job categories. This affects both teachers and students and makes it extremely difficult to help them achieve any measure of success.

School is one of the best environments to prevent, detect and take steps to ensure the psychological wellbeing of young people. Unfortunately, because of the dwindling professional resources, students with special needs are left behind.

With the current working conditions, it is near impossible to recruit and retain staff at any level.

The government talks a good game about the importance of considering aboriginal realities, cultures, and their contribution to Quebec society. But these are only words, which never lead to any specific actions.

It is intolerable that the teaching, support and professional staff are not taken seriously by management.

What we are asking the government to do

The CSQ and its unions are calling on the government to immediately enact concrete measures to improve the working conditions of teachers, support staff and professional staff. We believe this will help promote the profession, and subsequently attract and retain candidates for these positions.

Several solutions that would not cost anything were proposed by the unions representing the workers employed by aboriginal school boards, but they were rejected. Yet, we are very cognizant of the struggles our members face.

To move forward, we even agreed to reduce some of our demands. In short, we have made a significant effort to find solutions. Our current demands, which remain on the table, are an essential minimum in this negotiation.

Now is the time to move from words to action by taking effective steps for indigenous people that go beyond empty rhetoric. Because the government is supposed to be responsible for students and communities in Northern Quebec.

Learn more about the Association of employees of Northern quebec (AENQ-CSQ)