MONTREAL – French-language public school teachers are off the job today in some parts of Quebec as they protest lagging contract talks with the provincial government.
The 34,000 teachers are demonstrating against what they perceive as a decline in working conditions and the quality of education offered to students.
About one-third of the province’s teachers are not at school and students affected are at some 800 institutions in the Montreal area, the lower Laurentians region north of Montreal and the Outaouais area near Ottawa.
The union says there has been no progress despite 70 meetings between negotiators and it blames the province and school administrators for wanting to increase class sizes, putting a huge burden on teachers while significantly reducing student services.
Today is the first of three strike days the union announced last spring, with the next one scheduled for the latter part of October.
Education Minister Francois Blais says he deplores the teachers’ decision to strike, even though it is legal.
Union members are to gather at a Montreal square later today for a rally.