6 October 2020
The Fédération du personnel de soutien scolaire (FPSS‑CSQ) is up in arms over today’s launch of the CAQ’s Answer the call (Répondez présent) recruitment campaign.
The basic idea may seem laudable, but it is impossible to understand why the government is choosing to search externally when it already employees several thousand people in precarious jobs. In fact, 70% of school support staff in Quebec hold precarious jobs.
“I cannot understand how the government of François Legault works. Why choose to hire new staff without first giving the thousands of people it already employs more working hours per week?” demands FPSS-CSQ President Éric Pronovost. These workers are already qualified and already trained. Why not choose to create full-time positions and give preference to employees already on the job, instead of improvising this recruitment campaign? The labour shortage in our schools didn’t just happen with the pandemic. It was a huge issue before the pandemic and will remain so afterwards.”
The biggest challenge we currently face is the number of working hours allotted to support staff already in place.
“You have to offer decent working conditions to attract new employees. Who would be interested in working seven hours a week, with a split-shift schedule, not knowing if they will still have a job next year?” asks Mr. Pronovost. We all have bills to pay, so many of our members are opting to leave the education sector to go work in a fast-food restaurant. It doesn’t make any sense! The government has the solution right in front of them; before trying to recruit 2,000 new people, give your current employees more working hours. And if you add better working conditions to the mix, they will stay.”
The table below clearly shows that the number of full-time employees (FTE) is significantly lower than the number of individuals with jobs in the same job classes.
|Job class||Employees||FTE||Rate of precariousness||Number of precarious employees|
|Special Education Technician||15,675||6,353.0||59.5%||9,322|
|Social Work Technician||638||283.0||55.6%||355|
|Handicapped Students Attendant||8,671||1,820.8||79.0%||6,850.2|
*2018-2019 provincial data
A very real shortage
The FPSS-CSQ agrees with the government on one point: the labour shortage is very real. “We have been denouncing the shortage of personnel for years. With the pandemic exacerbating the problem, the government is getting a taste of its own medicine, with no management foresight whatsoever,” says Éric Pronovost indignantly. “The situation we find ourselves in today was predictable, but we all know that managers only act in an emergency. The alarm was sounded last April when there was already talk of a second wave. But instead of listening to us, Minister Roberge preferred to go into hiding all summer.”