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Quebec says it is waiting for response from striking teachers' unions

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Quebec Treasury Board President Sonia LeBel says she has made an offer to the Fédération autonome de l'enseignement (FAE).

Teachers entered their ninth day of strike action Tuesday.

LeBel claims her offer "would lead to concrete improvements in the daily lives of students and teachers."

She did not reveal its content.

The minister says she hopes for "a positive response from the union soon."

The FAE has yet to comment.

Numerous issues are at stake in the negotiations between Quebec and the union representing 66,000 elementary and high school teachers.

These include specialized classes for children with difficulties and when teachers are assigned to classes.

Quebec wants to move that date up to June to avoid the peak back-to-school period in August.

To lighten workloads, Quebec is also proposing adding classroom assistants.

The teachers' unions say the idea is commendable but insufficient as classroom assistants cannot replace professionals specialized in helping students, such as speech therapists, psycho-educators and others.

The FAE, which meets weekly to assess the negotiation situation, began its unlimited general strike on Nov. 23.

Its nine member unions include the Alliance des professeurs de Montréal, the Syndicat de l'enseignement de l'Ouest de Montréal, the Syndicat de l'enseignement de la Pointe-de-l'île, the Syndicat de l'enseignement de la région de Laval, Syndicat de l'enseignement des Basses-Laurentides, Syndicat de l'enseignement des Seigneuries, Syndicat de l'enseignement de l'Outaouais, Syndicat de l'enseignement de la Haute-Yamaska and Syndicat de l'enseignement de la région de Québec.

Some 95,000 other teachers who are members of the CSQ-affiliated Fédération des syndicats de l'enseignement (FSE) are not currently on strike.

The Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ) is part of the inter-union Common Front, which walked off the job for four days in November.

It has announced seven more strike days between Dec. 8 and 14. 

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Dec. 5, 2023. 

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