The Education Minister must stop acting like a pirate, he needs to start helping the crew!

13 September 2023

As part of the ongoing negotiations, members of the Fédération du personnel de soutien scolaire (FPSS-CSQ) demonstrated in front of the offices of the Education Minister in Lévis. FPSS-CSQ President Éric Pronovost says that “the minister must stop acting like a pirate, he needs to start helping the crew because there is an acute crisis on the horizon. He needs to grab the rudder and set a course to improve the working conditions of school support staff.”

Average salaries

The average salary of school support staff is $26,484[1]. Among the eighty-one (81) job classes, the average salary of daycare educators is $19,180 per year. The average salary of a school secretary is $36,306. Janitors earn an average of $30,764 and certified maintenance workers $42,601. Pronovost says “the Education Minister must stop acting like pirate, he needs to help the crew by increasing salaries and he needs to stop offering working hours that force people to look for another job to cope with the increasing cost of living. We are not seagulls, he needs to top feeding us crumbs.”

In the grip of precarity

The rate of job insecurity remains too high for school support staff. In fact, it affects eight out of ten people working in direct services to students. The rate is 70% for manual staff and 64% for administrative staff. Staff who provide direct services to students are also laid off cyclically during the summer, during holiday breaks, and some even during the spring break. The number of working hours for certain positions also varies from year to year, making financial planning difficult.

Éric Pronovost says “the wear and tear of these conditions is being felt, people are out of breath, the labor shortage is still with us, and the list of people available to replace is practically empty. Education is suffering through a storm and Mr. Drainville needs to react. We are not asking for the sea or the world, we just want decent working conditions.”

Negotiations in turmoil

The number of meetings at our negotiating tables has increased, “but we feel like we are sailing against the tide because the employer parties want to roll back the gains of recent years. If we want to reach our destination safely, Bernard Drainville will have to bring about a wave of changes, because our negotiating boat is taking on water,” says the FPSS-CSQ President.

Starting next week, unions affiliated with the FPSS-CSQ will be holding general assemblies where members will be asked to vote on a strike mandate that could go as far as an open-ended general strike. “The tide is rising and there is an urgent need to act before we run into trouble at the negotiating tables,” concludes Éric Pronovost.

[1] Based on 2019-2020 Treasury Board data. Salaries were increased on March 31,2022, in accordance with collective agreements which have now expired.