Q & A – December 8 to 14 Strike
This is a question-and-answer session on the 2023 November 6 short-term strike. It addresses the general principles. It is important to stress that each situation must be treated as a special case. So, if you encounter any difficulties, you need to speak to your local union. The clauses cited refer to the FPSS-CSQ S3 collective agreement.
1. When will the strike take place?
It will begin on Friday, December 8 at midnight and end on Thursday 14 at 11:59 p.m.
2. What will I do during the strike?
We must demonstrate our dissatisfaction with the employer offers. We encourage you to join the picket lines.
3. How many people will be on strike?
All members of the Common Front will be on strike. We are 420,000 people.
4. Can my employer require me to work during these days?
No. If you receive such a request, speak to your local union immediately.
5. What happens to my employment tie?
The employee on strike retains their employment tie with the employer. They cannot therefore be considered to be temporarily laid off for employment insurance purposes. In fact, even if they are temporarily deprived of work, they are still legally attached to the school service center that employs them. Thus, as soon as the strike ends, they have the right to resume their job in preference to any other person.
6. Can I be fired for participating in the strike?
The employer cannot dismiss an employee for participating in the strike.
7. What happens if I was not supposed to be working during the strike?
If the employee was not required to provide any work during the strike, there will be no cut in pay. The Labour Code protects employees against any form of reprisal (Québec, 2020a: art. 14) for exercising any right provided for in it and, the strike being one of these rights, any unjustified cut in pay could represent a form of retaliation.
8. What happens if I am sick or disabled during a strike day?
The principle is that an employee cannot take advantage of a day of sick-leave during a strike day simply because they would have been on strike if they had not been ill.
However, if a person began their disability leave before the strike begins, their salary is maintained. (S3 5-3.36)
In the case of a disability that begins during a strike, disability leave will generally begin when the strike ends and normal work resumes.
9. What happens if I am on parental, maternity, paternity or adoption leave during a strike day?
If the leave began before the strike, Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits will not be affected. (S3 5-4.55)
If the leave begins during the strike, the strike days could have a minor effect on the QPIP benefit rate. However, section 31.2 of the Parental Insurance Act can be used to move the reference period used to calculate the amount of benefits and thus reduce or even cancel the effect of the strike on benefits.
10. What happens if I am receiving salary insurance or compensation from the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) or from the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) during the strike day?
The person whose period of disability began before the strike and who provides a medical certificate to the service center will continue to receive their benefits (S3 5-3.36).
In practice, the person receiving compensation from the CNESST or the SAAQ based on a work accident will continue to receive it. However, considering certain administrative court rulings, it is possible that they will stop paying benefits. The strike will, however, have no effect on the first 14 days payable following a work accident, since the CNESST deems that a strike should not be a factor in determining the number of days payable. It is the normal work that was being performed before the accident which serves as the basis for determining this number.
11. What about the employee on preventative leave?
If the employee was not actually on preventative leave already, she will have to wait until the end of the strike to make her request.
If she already was, she could see the payment suspended, considering the absence of any risk during a work stoppage. In practice, the CNESST could decide not to interrupt the payment given the administrative difficulty of carrying out this operation for a short period of time.
12. If I am on gradual retirement, will my pay be cut?
There will be a cut in salary if the strike occurs at a time when work would have had to be required. An absence due to a strike for which you did not receive remuneration is redeemable under certain conditions. See: Retraitequebec.gouv.qc.ca/en/publications/rrsp/rregop/Pages/rregop.aspxtraite Québec – Le RREGOP (gouv.qc.ca)
However, if the strike occurs at a time when you are benefitting from your progressive retirement leave, there is already a cut being applied. There cannot be a double cut for the same period.
13. Will my pay be cut if I am on a sabbatical leave?
During the “leave” portion of your sabbatical, your salary is maintained. It is in fact stipulated that the leave cannot be interrupted for any reason whatsoever, regardless of the planned duration. (Appendix 6 section II c) of the collective agreement)
During the “work” portion, there will be a cut in salary based on the percentage of salary stipulated in the sabbatical leave contract.
14. Are stagiaires affected by the strike?
Stagiaires (interns) are not part of your certification unit and are therefore not on strike.
However, there is no way an employer can proceed to hire a massive number of stagiaires to circumvent the anti-scab provisions.
15. Is there a strike fund?
Trade union organizations can decide to establish such a fund and determine the terms and conditions. We invite you to contact your local union.