27 April 2022
“The pandemic has brought to light the gravity of the problem of how precarious the vast majority of jobs held by school support staff are. We have been denouncing this situation for ten years, but government and school center leaders must now take action to increase the quality of educational support jobs, particularly in educational establishments in the Beauce-Etchemin region.”
Éric Pronovost, President of the Fédération du personnel de soutien scolaire (FPSS-CSQ), is visiting the Beauce-Etchemin region today as part of a major consultation of its 33,500 members, including those in the Centre de services scolaire de la Beauce-Etchemin. The consultation aims to identify the members’ priorities for the next round of negotiations.
Although the consultation process is just beginning, Éric Pronovost believes the demand for more regular and continuous working hours will be at the heart of the demands. “The average salary of a support employee is only $30,000 a year and 70% of our members hold precarious jobs. In such a context, is it any wonder that school service centers are having trouble retaining staff and attracting a new generation of employees?” asks the union leader.
The solution to the staff shortage
Pronovost says that, if we want to put an end to the shortage of support staff in schools, we need to provide attractive working conditions and jobs that are sufficiently interesting to be considered a career. “A few hours of work per week, often spread over an irregular schedule, will not solve the staff shortage problem,” warns Pronovost.
So, he says, the FPSS-CSQ intends to mobilize its members over the next few weeks, relying on their solidarity to send a clear message to the Legault government: school support staff deserve more than precarious jobs. Enough is enough!
Dissatisfaction among skilled workers
Annie Boily, president of the Syndicat du personnel de soutien scolaire de la Beauce-Etchemin (SPSS-CSQ), says her members are unhappy about many things, particularly with what skilled workers are being paid. “We have very competent electricians, plumbers and carpenters performing tasks and work similar to their colleagues in the construction sector, but without the same wages. This obviously generates a feeling of unfairness,” says Annie Boily.
In this context, we would not be surprised if these skilled workers were to demand that the 10% attraction and retention premium obtained in the last round of negotiations be integrated into the collective agreement and permanently added to their salaries.