Public sector workers in the education, health, and social services networks will decide whether to accept the contents of a collective agreement in principle that was negotiated with the provincial government.
The leaders of the Front commun released additional details concerning salary and working conditions that were included in the five-year deal on January 7, saying the 420,000 members from at least 300 affiliated unions must now sign off on the agreement. The common front leaders agreed to a 17.4 per cent increase, with a six per cent jump in the first year, retroactive to April 1, 2023. The unions say this is the largest salary increase since 1979.
The contract also includes up to three per cent to protect purchasing power over the last three years of the contract, and improvements in terms of vacation leave, retirement, group insurance, parental rights, and other issues.
“It’s important to see the agreement as a whole,” said CSN first vice-president François Enault, CSQ president Éric Gingras, FTQ president Magali Picard, and APTS president Robert Comeau. “Gains achieved at the central bargaining table are added to those obtained at sectoral tables regarding conditions of work and practice. We’ll be seeing some very important debates within our unions over the next weeks.”
The members of the Chateauguay Valley Teachers Association (CVTA) will be voting on the proposed contract at some point between January 22 and February 9. “Members will be well informed before the special general meeting that will be held in order for members to vote on the proposal,” said CVTA president Nick Ross.
Information meetings will take place beforehand with the CVTA executive committee and members of the representatives’ council. An information session for CVTA members will also take place in mid-January with the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers (QPAT) negotiating team.
The New Frontiers School Board director general, Michael Helm, said he is relieved that the negotiations are going in the right direction, and he is hopeful they continue to develop in the coming weeks.
Across the Valley, students were out of school for eight days, while others in some French schools in and around Montreal lost 22 days after teachers affiliated with the FAE launched an unlimited strike on November 23.
The Education Minister, Bernard Drainville, released final plans to help students catch up on time lost to public sector strikes on January 9. Helm confirmed he met with representatives from the Education Ministry on at least two occasions prior to the release of the plans, which aim to support students and their learning between now and the end of the school year.
The ministry has already pushed back supplemental ministerial exams to allow students the time to properly prepare.