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Teachers strike: French unions reach proposed deal with Quebec


After more than one month of strike action, a Quebec teachers' union announced late Wednesday night it had reached a proposed deal with the government.

However, the Fédération autonome de l’enseignement (FAE) said it still needs to determine if the deal is indeed an agreement in principle.

The union, which represents more than 66,000 teachers, has been on an unlimited strike since Nov. 23.

The group said it will present the proposal to the nine affiliated member unions at a meeting Thursday.

If the deal is approved, it will be presented to members to ratify, but only "after the holiday break."

"We will leave it up to our governing body to determine whether this is an agreement in principle that meets the crying needs of teachers and their students," FAE President Mélanie Hubert said in a news release. "The 66,500 members of the FAE have just spent 22 days on the streets without pay to make their voices heard. We will respect our democratic processes before making any further pronouncements."

No further details were announced on Wednesday.

The Federation of Parents Committees of Quebec (FCPQ) says it feels encouraged by the agreement.

"Number one, that they worked through the holiday break even; it shows that everyone is committed to making something happen and getting our kids back to school, so that's encouraging," said FCPQ Executive Director Corinne Payne. "We're really happy that they all worked together and they're going to hopefully come to something that is going to be suitable and will work for everyone."

Payne says it is very important that the agreement is a "win-win" for everyone.

"The ultimate win is getting our kids back in school, but the other win is that we're taking care of our public finances and we're also ensuring that the teachers have the working conditions that they need in the classrooms," she said. 

Meanwhile, the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ) says the last of its eight unions has reached a tentative agreement with the Quebec government.

The FTQ-affiliated Syndicat des professionnelles et professionnels de Laval-Rive-Nord (SPPLRN-SCFP) says it reached a consensus with the Quebec government at 1:03 a.m. Wednesday when it comes to working conditions.

The federation says all of its settlements will be presented to members "shortly" for a vote.

The FTQ, which is part of the inter-union Common Front, stresses that an accord has yet to be reached at the central table, where issues such as salaries are being debated.

Nevertheless, all other Common Front unions, representing around 420,000 workers, have reached tentative agreements with the government.

The SPPLRN-SCFP represents 1,000 education professionals working in the Laurentides, Lanaudière and Laval regions.

The province has still not reached a deal with a major union, the Fédération Interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ), which represents 80,000 health care workers.

-- with files from The Canadian Press. Top Stories

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