Teachers' Right to Strike Challenged - Superior Court Sides with FSE-CSQ and QPAT
After hearing last Friday the case pitting the English-language school service centres and school boards against the Fédération des syndicats de l'enseignement (FSE-CSQ) and the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers (APEQ-QPAT), the Quebec Superior Court judge rendered a decision this morning, siding with the unions that argued that the matter falls under the jurisdiction of the Tribunal administratif du Québec (TAQ).
On that basis, the Superior Court judge dismissed the motion for the interlocutory and permanent injunction sought by the English-language school service centres and school boards. The innovative strike scheduled for April 14 until 9:30 is therefore maintained.
For the FSE-CSQ and QPAT, this was clearly an attempt to violate teachers' fundamental right to strike, which is protected by the charters. The employers were not in fact disputing the legality of this type of strike, but arguing that it was excessive given the major administrative repercussions. This unprecedented strike was organized by FSE-CSQ and QPAT with the objective of putting pressure on employers, while minimizing the impact on educational services for students.
"We are pleased with this decision, which is consistent with our arguments. We will have to see how employers decide to behave. Will they go so far as to take their claim to the TAQ instead of preparing properly for this strike? If that is the case, it would show, in our opinion, that they are prepared to devote more energy to fighting our rights than to defending education alongside us. But if they choose to do so, we will be ready to defend the fundamental rights of teachers once again," said Josée Scalabrini, President of FSE-CSQ, and Heidi Yetman, President of QPAT.
It should be noted that, after the FSE-CSQ and QPAT unions served legal notice that they would exercise their right to strike on April 14 until 9:30 a.m., the English-language school service centres and school boards concerned went to the Superior Court to seek an interim, interlocutory and permanent injunction to prevent the legitimate exercise of this previously unheard-of pressure tactic in education. The employers have argued that such short-term strikes would cause excessive administrative disruption.
Profile The Fédération des syndicats de l'enseignement (FSE-CSQ) is composed of 34 unions representing more than 65,000 teachers in school service centres and school boards across Quebec. Its membership includes teachers from all sectors, including pre-school, primary, secondary, vocational and general adult education. It is affiliated with the Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ) and negotiates in collaboration with the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers (APEQ-QPAT), which represents the 8,000 teachers in Quebec's English school boards. Together, they represent 73,000 teachers.
SOURCE Fédération des syndicats de l'enseignement (CSQ) via CISION
For further information: Sylvie Lemieux, Press Officer, FSE-CSQ, 418-563-7193, firstname.lastname@example.org; Julie Montpetit, Communications Advisor, APEQ-QPAT, 514-249-9653, email@example.com
Related Links www.lafse.org/