Nunavik teachers strike for ‘improved’ collective agreements
‘Things have to change now!’ education workers chant outside the Kativik school board office in Montreal
MONTREAL — Nearly 50 education workers belonging to the Nunavik teachers’ union protested lagging contract negotiations outside the Kativik school board’s head office in Montreal Wednesday.
Union leaders representing Kativik Ilisarniliriniq teachers and support staff pressed the school board and provincial government for collective agreements that improve working conditions in northern communities.
“We are fed up that negotiations are going nowhere,” said Larry Imbeault, president of the Association of Employees of Northern Quebec, the union representing Nunavik teachers.
Teachers, education professionals and support staff of Kativik Ilisarniliriq also held a one-day strike in Nunavik’s 14 communities, picketing outside the region’s schools.
The union says the two sides have failed to reach an agreement after more than 25 rounds of negotiations.
While the employee association’s parent union, Centrale des syndicats du Québec, is negotiating salary increases, the association demands rent subsidies, cargo allowances and paid travel to address disparities in benefits for local and out-of-region hires and staff shortages, Imbeault told Nunatsiaq News.
“Teachers that go to work in Nunavik stay less than a year and a half, on average. There’s a big problem with retention and attraction because [schools] have to hire more and more non-legally qualified teachers,” Imbeault said.
Kativik Ilisarniliriniq has one psychologist and two social workers for its 17 schools in 14 communities, according to the president of the West Montreal school boards professionals union, Carolane Desmarais.
“Nunavik students are entitled to quality services like all other students in Quebec. For that, the government will have to make an effort,” she said.
Other regional factors, such as the high cost of living, impact learning outcomes, said Hélène Sabatié who taught in Inukjuak and Kangiqsujuaq for four years.
“It’s very difficult to have a stable internet connection which makes it complicated for the students and for our research,” she said.
“It costs around $145 per month, yet we don’t have it at home or in class, and it’s at our expense.”
Day after the strike, my kid’s teacher calls in sick. A regular occurrence. Wish KI taught me well enough to become a teacher in my own community.
The number of sick days must surely have exceeded the allocation of what’s within the agreement. Teachers calling in sick, is a sickness within itself. It also contradicts what the union is trying to accomplish. As I see it both local and southerners call in sick, with more locals then southerners doing so. Most of this strike goals is to benefit locals, if it comes to be. But locals must start making commitments to stop this absenteeism. kI must do something about that, otherwise strikes like this are a joke.
How many of the fly-in teachers have families? local teachers have more people in their home that can get sick and need help or bring the flu into the home.
And standing in front of a class with students in front of you (even if they are all sick) is not the same as when you have kids of your own that are climbing on you when your at home (and added to that the kids in class have closer contact with each other then teachers would so the teacher that is a parent is at higher risk of catching a cold).
That’s the problem. Teachers are not showing up enough to teach consistently. Too many call in sick days and absence.
people should remember babysitters are cheaper
The onions in Nunavut have bee without contracts far longer. Why are there no strikes in Nunavut?
I’m happy with our onion supply. I am able to get green, white and red onions at my local NorthMart. I see no reason to strike over the issue.
You’ve been fooled! The “man” has deceived you! Your onions are not red! They’re PURPLE.
My grandpa’s grandpa never went to school to learn how to survive, but this is ridiculous.
So, when is my kids school work going to be graded? You want equality? Do your jobs correctly!