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Quebec Public Sector Unions Announce Historic Week-Long Strike

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Sakchi Khandelwal
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Quebec Public Sector Unions Announce Historic Week-Long Strike

In a historical pivot, the coalition of Quebec public sector unions, popularly known as the common front, has announced a week-long strike from December 8 to 14. Comprising over 420,000 health, social services, and education workers, the common front's upcoming action is predicted to shutter public schools across the province and foster disruptions in healthcare settings. However, essential services are expected to remain operational.

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The Climbing Struggles and the Impending Strike

This forthcoming strike follows a previous three-day walkout and has been flagged as the last step before the possible escalation to an unlimited general strike. The Federation Autonome de l'Enseignement (FAE), a separate union representing 65,000 teachers in the French school system, is currently engrossed in an ongoing unlimited strike. The common front's seven-day walkout is set to be the longest public sector strike in Quebec in half a century.

Progress Through Strife

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Despite the tumult, union leaders have indicated that the recent strikes have made some headway at the negotiation table with the government. Quebec Premier François Legault has expressed a willingness to offer more financial resources to the unions, but not without certain concessions. Union leaders are pushing for an improvement in working conditions and have warned of grave consequences if the negotiations continue to drag on.

The Core of Dispute: Wages and Working Conditions

The primary issues fueling the dispute are wages and working conditions. With a striking 95% of union members in favor of the strike mandate, adopted in October, the unions' resilience and tenacity are evident. As the province of Quebec braces itself for the potential impact of the upcoming strike, all eyes are on the government and the common front as they navigate the choppy waters of negotiation.

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