Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

Wave of mutual aid among teachers in gr&egrave ;ve au Québec | Strikes in the public sector in Quebec

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The more than 66,000 members of the Autonomous Education Federation have been on an indefinite general strike since November 23. This walkout puts some of them in a precarious situation.

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In Quebec, pressure tactics in the public sector are weighing heavily on the wallets of certain members of the Autonomous Education Federation (FAE), on strike since November 23. To try to remedy this situation, two teachers decided to create a Facebook support group.

Geneviève Groleau and Marjorie Guilbault are the creators of the Mutual Aid page for teachers on strike. They decided to launch this initiative to pair good Samaritans with teachers who are struggling to make ends meet due to the labor conflict in the public sector.

We are two girls, two teachers who wanted to support their colleagues. We fight for the same things, explains Geneviève Groleau.

She herself is a member of the FAE. She recognizes that the strike placed her in a precarious situation.

It's going hard. There were payment agreements that I had to make, there were payment deferrals. […] I try not to dwell on that too much. I'm trying to take it one day at a time.

Strikes in the public sector in Quebec< /h3>

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For her part, Marjorie Guilbault is a member of the Federation of Education Unions (FSE-CSQ). She is therefore not on an indefinite general strike, but she says that she witnessed the distress of certain colleagues on social networks.

I saw a lot of posts on Facebook from teachers wondering how they were going to get there.

A quote from Marjorie Guilbault, teacher and co-creator of the group “Mutual aid for teachers on strike”

It was important for herself and for Geneviève Groleau that the beneficiaries remained anonymous.

We do twinning. In other words, we keep the people who ask confidential, because we realized that for teachers, asking for help is a learning experience, she believes. her.

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Geneviève Groleau (left) and Marjorie Guilbault (right) are the two original teachers of the group “Mutual aid for teachers on strike”.

The vast majority of requests made in this group concern food donations, according to Marjorie Guilbault.< /p>

It's groceries, food, 90% of the time. There are also requests for gasoline. There have been donations of clothing.

As the holiday season approaches, buying Christmas gifts is also a big source of stress for parents, according to Geneviève Groleau.

I have teachers who have flat out told their children: “Make your list. But we'll see if there are any gifts."

A quote from Geneviève Groleau, teacher and co-creator of the group “Mutual aid for teachers on strike”

The Support group for teachers on strike has enjoyed great popularity since its creation.

In the first 24 hours, we had 2,000 members. We had already donated a few hundred dollars. As of today, there are between $3,000 and $4,000 in donations of all kinds, reports Geneviève Groleau.

Sunday after By midday, the group had more than 5,100 members.

There were people who gave $300. There are teachers, themselves on an indefinite general strike, who have given to several other teachers. It's incredible to see that, notes Marjorie Guilbault.

With this Facebook group, Geneviève Groleau and Marjorie Guilbault respond to the needs of certain caught strikers short by a prolonged disengagement.

The FAE does not have a strike fund, which means that no financial compensation is paid to union members in the event of a walkout. Members of other unions, for their part, have decided to pay contributions which allow them to receive part of their salary during strike periods.

Geneviève Savard is a teacher affiliated with the FAE. She benefited from the help offered by the Mutual Aid group for teachers on strike.

I went to see what it was, then I wrote a little message privately to say what my situation was, what could potentially cause a problem in the coming weeks. Then, quickly, I was contacted to say: "Geneviève, there is a lady who raised her hand and would like to help a mother who needs help." So, I was matched privately with her, she explains.

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Geneviève Savard is a teacher affiliated with the FAE and single mother from the Outaouais region.

She acknowledges that it can be difficult to ask for help. I have a really good career. I went to university. It's a job that I love, except that I can't do it. Then at the slightest thing like that, where my salary is cut, I call it crossing the desert.

Then, it's hard to say. I need help.

A quote from Geneviève Savard, teacher affiliated with the FAE

It was also not possible for me to seek additional help from the bank. So I had no choice but to speak. It's hard to admit, to say: “I'm really in a precarious situation.”

On Saturday, the FAE submitted a counter-offer to the Quebec government. The president of the Federation, Mélanie Hubert, assured that her union was ready to negotiate all weekend. In the event of an agreement in principle, however, the federal negotiating council will have to meet to adopt it and to decide to end the strike.

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According to Mélanie Hubert, the counter-offer submitted by the FAE “is demanding in terms of the needs of teachers”.

Despite everything, Geneviève Groleau emphasizes that the desire to remain on strike as long as necessary is still present.

The desire to remain on strike is there. But the desire to fall into solution mode [also].

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