Less than a week after teachers employed by Conseil Scolaire Centre-Nord (CSCN) voted 94 per cent in favour of taking strike action against their employer, a memorandum of agreement was signed by the parties.
Facing mounting pressure from parents and the community, board negotiators reached out to resume negotiations in the days after the strike mandate was announced. Saturday bargaining concluded an agreement that will now go back to the membership for ratification.
Éric Cloutier, president of L’Unité locale francophone No. 24, says he is relieved that an agreement was reached.
“Teachers preferred to stay in the classroom, but they weren’t prepared to be treated as second rate compared to the rest of the teachers in the province,” Cloutier said. “The teachers felt they had no other choice but to take a stand, and now their resolve has paid off.”
Teachers vote on ratifying the agreement on Feb. 3 and the board will vote on Feb. 10. If both sides approve, the 2018–2020 agreement will be finalized. A negative vote on either side means the strike mandate remains in place.
Cloutier is hopeful that teachers will support the efforts of their team to get this agreement, but says work will now be needed to repair the relationship between the board and teachers.
“I believe this is a fair deal,” Cloutier said. “But teachers remain frustrated that for two rounds in a row, negotiations have been very frustrating, and CSCN has been one of the very last boards to settle in local negotiations.”
If the CSCN agreement is approved, there will be only three school boards in the province that have not reached a local settlement for the 2018/19 and 2019/20 school years: Sturgeon, Wetaskiwin and FrancoSud. ❚