Quebec, teachers’ union reaches agreement in principle

MONTREAL – An important agreement in principle has been reached between the Quebec government and a public sector union.

The Centrale des syndicats du Quebec (CSQ), which represents 73,000 elementary and high school teachers in the province have announced they have come to an agreement on working conditions, but not on salaries.

READ MORE: Quebec public sector workers, teachers hold one day strike

The CSQ, which also includes the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers (QPAT), represents about 8,000 teachers who work in the province’s English-language school boards.

WATCH: Quebec teacher strikes
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“We protected our 32 hours, we protected our work of a personal nature,” said QPAT’s president, Richard Goldfinch.

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“We were able to bring a reduction of class size ratios for our kindergarden students. We held the line on all class sizes.”

After the 14 month fight, unions said the deal was partly due to support from parents.

“We were able, through a lot of work from our teachers, from the support of parents to back all of those demands down, every single one of them is gone off the table,” said Goldfinch.

Teachers have been without a collective agreement since April.

READ MORE: One of Quebec’s largest teachers’ federation suspends talks with government

They have been holding rotating strike days throughout the fall as a way to protest during negotiations.

The unions said while the provincial government backed down on a lot of its demands, they still make compromises.

“We had a lot of demands at the beginning, what we were able to do was go get a few of them and back them down on everything,” said Goldfinch.

“Yes, gains for us, but not gains everywhere.”

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The agreement still has to be approved in a vote by teachers.

“Teachers can hold their heads up high and be proud of this collective agreement, this agreement in principle that we’re putting forward to them,” said Goldfinch.

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