11 May 2022
“For years we have been denouncing the precariousness of the vast majority of jobs held by school support staff throughout Quebec. This situation is making it increasingly difficult to retain existing staff and attract new workers, especially in the schools of the Centre de services scolaire de la Pointe-de-l’Île (CSSPI). Improving the quality of school support staff jobs must be at the heart of our next round of negotiations.”
Éric Pronovost, President of the Fédération du personnel de soutien scolaire (FPSS-CSQ), is visiting the territory served by the CSSPI today as part of a major consultation of federation’s 33,500 members, including those who work in this school service center, to identify priorities for the next round of negotiations. He is accompanied by Stéphane Soumis, President of the Syndicat du soutien en éducation de la Pointe-de-l’Île (SSÉPÎ-CSQ).
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. 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!
A difficult working environment
SSÉPÎ-CSQ President Stéphane Soumis says that his members are dissatisfied with several things, especially with the staff shortage. “The lack of personnel is directly tied to the fact that many of our members hold precarious jobs. On top of this, the staff shortage is resulting in work overloads. This makes the working environment rather difficult for the support staff of the Centre de services scolaire de la Pointe-de-l’Île,” laments Stéphane Soumis.
Along with the adverse conditions, Soumis says that support staff have to cope with a lack of recognition that is deplorable.