A long-lasting labour conflict between the Quebec government and its public sector employees still isn’t over.
The collective agreement talks between the province and unions remain deadlocked just a few days before Christmas.
Striking teachers took to blocking the ports in Montreal and Quebec City on Thursday morning as negotiations dragged on. The Port of Montreal confirmed that the demonstration had a “significant” impact on its activities at the start of the day.
Here is a look at the ongoing walkouts and conflict by the numbers.
Around 565,000 workers affected
The Quebec government is negotiating with several unions representing a total of some 565,000 public sector workers in the province.
Four unions known as the Common Front are working together in negotiations. They represent a total of 420,000 workers, including teachers, education support staff and lab technicians.
The Fédération autonome de l’enseignement (FAE), which is negotiating separately, has more than 66,000 teachers as members.
Meanwhile, the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ) represents 80,000 nurses, licensed practical nurses and respiratory therapists.
Quebec public sector unions threaten unlimited strike in new year, teachers reject latest government offer
Four weeks of teachers’ strike
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The FAE launched an unlimited strike on Nov. 23. That means more than 66,000 elementary school and high school teachers have been off the job for four weeks, holding protests and picketing outside schools.
This doesn’t include the overlapping walkouts by other unions since November. The Common Front has held three strikes — each one longer than the last — for a total of 11 days.
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The indefinite walkout by the FAE teachers have shut down about 800 public schools across the province.
Tens of thousands of students have not been in class — and with the holiday break starting this weekend — it’s unlikely any of them will be back before 2024.
Zero deals reached
The Quebec government has made four offers since the start of negotiations. All of them have been rejected, but counter offers have been made by public sector unions.
Few details are known about the latest proposal made this week to the Common Front and FAE. The latter said it “contains major setbacks for teachers as well as their students.”
Both sides are hoping to reach a deal before the end of 2023.
— with files from Global’s Franca Mignacca and The Canadian Press
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