Teachers’ work-to-rule means cuts to Ballet Ouest’s Nutcracker show
Dancers from Ballet Ouest are cutting back on their December performances of the Nutcracker due to teachers putting pressure on the government through work-to-rule tactics.
The teachers’ pressure tactics mean no extracurricular activities, and no field trips.
The company has been performing Tchaikovsky’s Christmas ballet for decades, including staging several performances, mainly for school groups.
This year, Ballet Ouest will be scaling back.
“We've had to renegotiate theatre contracts, dancer contracts based on the smaller number of performances and the expected lower revenue,” said Elaina Colbeck, administrative director of Ballet Ouest de Montreal.
As a mother of public school children, Colbeck said she’s behind the teachers’ decision.
“We understand that what they're fighting for is something very important. So we do support them,” she said.
Public school teachers across Quebec are working to rule – no extracurricular activities, no field trips, no work outside of class time.
“Fundamentally they're paid for 32 hours a week and we're telling them do your 32 hours, do your job as is outlined in the contract and no more,” said John Donnelly of the Pearson Teacher’s Union.
The tactic is affecting groups outside the school system.
Donnelly says many teachers aren't happy with the tactics either.
“This is tough. We're asking them to take a big part of what they love doing and put it aside for the time being,” he said.
Some students are backing the teachers, too.
A group of students staged a noisy demonstration at Westmount High School on their lunch hour Tuesday in support of the teachers.
With negotiations at a standstill, however, they said they needed to get the government's attention.
Education Minister Francois Blais though isn't budging, saying the government intends to push forward with its plan.