Demonstrations took place in Rouyn-Noranda and elsewhere in Quebec.
Empty chairs, symbols of positions to be filled: half a dozen professionals in the field of education, such as psychologists, social workers and animators in the spiritual life, demonstrated Wednesday morning at Larivière Park in Rouyn-Noranda.
The demonstrators, carrying signs, had placed vacant chairs in full view of motorists to lament the consequences of the labor shortage.
There is a panoply of professionals who are hard at work and who currently feel like they have to fill in the blanks. At the time, we were talking about the school at arm's length, but here, it's the school at the end of its rope, mentions the vice-president of the Union of professionals in the North-West school environment (SPPMSNO), Jean-Claude Major, under the sound of horns.
The campaign deployed on Wednesday attempts to raise awareness among parents to the shortage of professionals in schools in the public network.
The demonstration is part of the context of negotiations with the Quebec government for the renewal of their collective agreement.
Mr. Major, who refers to figures from the Federation of Education Professionals of Quebec, estimates that there is a shortage of about a hundred professionals in the schools of Abitibi-Témiscamingue, compared to a thousand in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region. province wide.
He also believes that professionals working in the public sector, such as psychoeducators and librarians, can help children not only succeed academically, but also grow personally.
Protesters at Larivière Park in Rouyn-Noranda.
We really have to think about the educational success of our students. It's good, academic success, it's good to be able to succeed in our maths, French… but succeeding in life is also something super important. And that is, broadly speaking, a lot of what professional services work in complementarity, underlines Jean-Claude Major.
The Rouyn-Noranda School Service Center has not wished to comment and react to the event. And the Ministry of Education had not responded to our interview requests at the time of this writing.
'Empty chairs' are deployed by education sector professionals to decry labor shortages work and their working conditions in the public network.
The union is asking the Government of Quebec to improve the working conditions of its members, in particular by reducing the use of telework, and, above all, to increase wages. This avenue is seen as a means of attracting and retaining professionals in the public sector.
Jean-Claude Major adds that other actions are to be expected if negotiations with the government continue to stumble. This is just the beginning, he maintains.
Note that other visibility actions have been carried out elsewhere in Quebec by professionals in the education.