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Leaders of two Quebec teachers unions approve partial deal with provincial government

Click to play video: 'Quebec strikes: One teachers’ union reports progress in negotiations'
Quebec strikes: One teachers’ union reports progress in negotiations
Watch - Dec 22: Quebec strikes: One teachers’ union reports progress in negotiations – Dec 22, 2023

Two Quebec teachers unions say their leadership has approved a partial agreement with the provincial government, marking one small step forward in a broader series of labour disputes that threaten to upend a large swath of the province’s public service next year.

The Fédération des syndicats de l’enseignement and the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers, which together represent more than 100,000 educators, said in a Friday evening statement that they won’t make the details of the proposed agreement public until their members have a chance to review it and voice their opinions.

In a video message posted to social media, FSE president Josee Scalabrini said that next step won’t happen until after the holiday break. She suggested the proposed deal concerns work conditions, but she did not specify which elements.

The two unions do make clear the tentative deal doesn’t cover teacher salaries. Compensation and other issues are still the subject of negotiations with the government under an alliance of labour groups known as the common front, which represents around 420,000 Quebec public sector workers.

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“We’re 50% of the way there,” Scalabrini said in the video. “We can say we’ve taken a big step forward.”

The common front alliance has already carried out several multi-day strikes in the last two months and has said it will launch an unlimited strike next year if it’s unable to reach an agreement with the province.

A separate union representing another 66,000 teachers, Fédération autonome de l’enseignement, has been on an unlimited strike since Nov. 23. That strike has kept around 800 schools across the province closed.

The FAE said Friday it was willing to intensify negotiations with the government, but for now it plans to continue its strike in the new year.

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