2 May 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 schools in the Outaouais region.”
Éric Pronovost, President of the Fédération du personnel de soutien scolaire (FPSS-CSQ), is visiting the Outaouais region today as part of a major consultation of its 33,500 members, including those in the Draveurs and Portages-de-l’Outaouais school service centers. 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!
Insufficiently attractive jobs
Kim Lafleur Lauriault, interim president of the Syndicat du soutien scolaire de l’Outaouais (SSSO-CSQ), says that her members are unhappy about many things, particularly with regard to the staff shortage. “Federal government jobs are more attractive and more advantageous, which explains why many of our members are leaving their jobs to join the federal public service. This situation has unfortunately been going on for years and only aggravates the staff shortage,” reports Kim Lafleur Lauriault.
She also deplores the huge number of precarious jobs with an obviously insufficient number of working hours. This is especially the case at the Centre de services scolaire des Draveurs.
Éric Pronovost and Kim Lafleur Lauriault took part in a demonstration in front the office of the Member of Parliament for the riding of Chapleau aimed at reminding the Legault government that school support staff are essential and that it is time for them to be given the working conditions they deserve. “We delivered the message to MNA Mathieu Lévesque, who took the time to listen to our demands and told us he would pass them on to his government. We want to be heard,” says Pronovost.