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33,000 Quebec school support workers stage a one-day strike Tuesday

CSQ Teacher's union president Sonia Ethier calls on protestors at a demonstration, Thursday, March 18, 2021 at the legislature in Quebec City. Ethier announced a strike in some 30 Cegep college for March 30. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

Some 33,000 unionized school support workers with the Centrale des Syndicats du Québec (CSQ) will walk off the job Tuesday.

The one-day strike affects 19 French-language school service centres and two English-language school boards in the province.

Members include school daycare services, school secretaries, janitors, specialized workers, and special education technicians. The union is hoping to pressure the government to continue negotiations toward a new collective agreement.

The striking workers will not however be picketing, according to Éric Pronovost, president of the Fédération du personnel de soutien scolaire (FPSS-CSQ), an CSQ affiliate.

Read more: Looming Quebec strike pits parents against school boards

Tuesday’s walkout is not intended to delay the academic learning of students, who are going through a unique year due to the COVID-19 crisis, Pronovost said.

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Pronovost and CSQ president Sonia Éthier plan to hold a press conference Tuesday morning in front of the National Assembly along with three opposition deputies, Marwah Rizqy from the Liberal Party (PLQ), Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois from Québec solidaire (QS) and Véronique Hivon from the Parti Québécois (PQ).

Members are seeking job security, Pronovost said. Currently, support employees are required to work odd schedules, alternating between morning, noon, and evening shifts, while others get only seven to 10 hours a week, with subcontracting, rather than hiring full-time staff, to blame, Pronovost said.

The FPSS-CSQ is warning the Quebec government that if it does not quickly come to a satisfactory agreement with its members, there could be more walkouts. In January, the union won a five-day strike mandate from its members.

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