Quebec public sector workers begin 3-day strike, shuttering schools and hitting health care

Quebec workers

Amid a provincewide strike affecting Quebec’s public sector, concerns are rising for the well-being and education of students, particularly those with special needs. The strike, initiated by the common front, a group of Quebec public sector workers, has led to the closure of schools, including Wagar Adult Education Centre in Côte Saint-Luc, impacting approximately 420,000 union members.

The strike, affecting health, education, and social service networks, began on Tuesday and is scheduled to last until Thursday, with potential extensions in some regions. Demonstrations have emerged outside public buildings across the province, with parents expressing support for the striking teachers but hoping for a swift resolution.

Parents like Danielle Desrosiers, whose daughter attends Wagar with special needs, emphasize the importance of routine and structure for their children’s well-being. While supportive of the teachers’ cause, Desrosiers urges a quick resolution for the sake of students.

Steven Le Sueur, president of the Quebec Professional Association of Teachers, highlights that negotiations with the government have been ongoing for a year without significant progress. He urges parents to be patient, assuring them that the strike is intended to benefit children’s success in the long run.

Anne Dionne

The common front, comprising several unions, aims to improve working conditions and keep wages in line with inflation. Anne Dionne, co-vice-president of the CSQ, stresses the intention to reach a settlement and improve the education system.

Outside Irénée-Lussier high school, representatives of a union representing school support staff voice concerns about low salaries within the education network, with some members relying on food banks. They call for prioritizing investment in education over other expenditures.

While the common front strike continues until Thursday, other unions, such as the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ) and the Fédération autonome de l’enseignement (FAE), representing health professionals and teachers, respectively, have their own strike plans. The FAE’s indefinite strike, starting Thursday, includes teachers at various school boards, compounding the impact on education across the province.

Sumann Senguptaa

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