A bill isn’t enough, a strike will be necessary

[Press release by the Montreal Coalition for Paid Internships. Translation by Jonathan Turcotte-Summers.]

Tiohtià:ke (Montreal, unceded Mohawk territory), February 19, 2019 — Already more than 7,500 [now 30,000] students have adopted a strike mandate of at least one week this winter. Many student associations will also hold general assemblies soon in order to increase the pressure on the government, which drags its feet in formulating a serious proposal. Last fall, a clear ultimatum was issued to the Legault government by more than 30 student associations while nearly 60,000 students were on strike in several regions of Quebec.

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Threshold for unlimited general strike achieved

It might have been harder than expected, but a flurry of votes this past week pushed the campaign over the edge: an unlimited general strike for paid student internships will take place in 2019.

Among those student associations that have approved an unlimited general strike (grève générale illimitée, or GGI, in French), the commonly accepted minimum threshold required to trigger it is 20,000 students in 3 regions of the province with a strike mandate of at least one week. That threshold was surpassed on Thursday.

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Referendums result in votes against strike

This past week, general assemblies at Université de Montréal resulted in two more student associations voting for a combination of strike days and an unlimited general strike to begin in March. These are the 366-member anthropology association AEAUM and the 170-member art history association AEEHAUM.

However, strike votes failed to carry for larger student associations at other institutions, where they decided through referendums rather than general assemblies.

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Student mobilization will have “no impact,” says education minister Roberge

[Original article by Laurent Lavoie in Montréal Campus, the independent student newspaper of Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). Translation by Jonathan Turcotte-Summers.]

In the next few days, more student associations will have their turn to take a position on the carrying out of an unlimited general strike for the remuneration of all internships, and these measures do not worry Minister of Education Jean-François Roberge.

“If some students mobilize, it will have no impact, we’re already at work and we already have a clear game plan. If they deprive themselves of being in their courses, it will result in absolutely nothing, because the government will not go any faster,” declared the Coalition Avenir Québec minister during an interview with chamblymatin.com.

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Social science students vote for UNLIMITED GENERAL STRIKE!

At its general assembly Monday, AFESH, the social science students’ association at Université du Québec à Montréal, became just the second to vote in favour of an unlimited general strike this year. Its 4,200 members will walk out on March 18 if a minimum of 20,000 students in 3 different regions of the province have adopted a strike mandate of at least one week — the same minimum required by the student midwives of AESFQ.

In addition, barring the government’s capitulation to their demands, AFESH will be on strike February 20, March 6 to 8, March 15, and March 18 to 22 — with no minimum.

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After a week of mixed results, the strike movement carries on

ADEESE, the education student association at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), surprisingly voted down a proposed unlimited general strike at its general assembly on February 5. After a recount, the official tally was 343 for and 396 against, with 22 abstentions.

This loss was particularly disappointing since the 5,000-member association is the largest yet to vote on the strike this year, and has been among the most active participants in the campaign for paid internships. As a result, some might be wondering whether the previous provincial government, under the Liberal Party of Quebec, effectively managed to placate the juggernaut association — or the movement as a whole — with its offer of compensation for the final student-teaching internship.

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Internship legislation: Battles on two fronts

[Original article by Zacharie Routhier in Quartier Libre, the independent student newspaper of Université de Montréal. Translation by Jonathan Turcotte-Summers.]

During his visit to the convention of the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ) [1], in which participated the Union étudiante du Québec (UEQ) [2], the Minister of Education and Higher Learning, Jean-François Roberge, declared Saturday that he is open to the idea of a legal framework for internships. The Comités unitaires sur le travail étudiant (CUTEs) [3], who were not present for the announcement, say they don’t feel represented by the two provincial associations.

“It’s because [Roberge] is feeling the heat. Let’s continue to defend the unlimited general strike in our general assemblies and leave no one behind. We’ll have it, the remuneration of all internships.” This was the reaction of the CUTEs, who responded to the minister’s announcement via their Facebook page.

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