Teachers add pressure to austerity measures, stick to 32 paid hours
Pontiac MP André Fortin doesn’t agree with one of the means of pressure Aylmer’s Tournesols elementary school teachers adopted.
“Teachers means of pressure should not hinderstudents’ academic achievements. If the Tournesols’ teachers think that students can achieve good results by having no homework to do, they don’t have the same vision as I”, he commented.
Last week, parents of the Tournesols School found out that teachers were cutting homework and lessons and that this would not “affect their academic results”.
“We have given ourselves an action plan for the negotiations. The plan includes many activities such as stopping volunteer work and limiting ourselves to the 32 hours a week for which we are paid by the government. We know that with their big hearts, teachers often do more,” explained Claude Tardif, President of the Syndicat de l’enseignement de l’Outaouais, the union body for three francophone school boards in the region. “Each teacher is free to choose what she or he wants to cut to stay within the 32 hours; at the Tournesols School, teachers opted for a collective choice.”
Teachers started this means of pressure when their contract ended on March 31. Negotiations for a new agreement are not going very well.
The Fédération autonome de l’enseignement (FAE) was outraged by the employer’s offers for their new contract submitted by the Management Negotiating Committee.
“Instead of giving public schools what they need to accomplish their mission, the government has presented offers that would affect the teachers’ working conditions and would significantly reduce or simply abolish certain services to students.”
“This is 40 years of negotiations the government is striking out. The government, the school boards and school management have decided to dump a gas can on the teachers’ collective agreement and to burn their contract,” declared Sylvain Mallette, President of the FAE.
As for Mr. Fortin, he remains optimistic and believes the discussions between the two parties will bear fruit. “The government and the teachers are negotiating and I am confident that they will reach an agreement. All the same, I encourage the teachers to make decisions that are in the better interest of the students during these negotiations,” added Mr. Fortin.