[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.
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.
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.