As March 22nd is passed, we need to continue our struggle against this unjustifiable hike ! This Ultimatum Express – CLASSE newspaper – explains why March 22nd was only the beginning of the real strike ! Please feel free to distribute it widely !
On March 22nd, more than 200 000 students, teachers, workers & citizens took the streets of Montreal to oppose the tuition hike !
As this banner reads: « March 22nd is only the beggining! »
We must continue our fight for accessible education!
It is important to begin with the affirmation that all that is not prohibited by the law is legal. While the Quebec Labour Code limits the rights of workers to strike to certain circumstances, no such law governs student strikes. Because no such law specifically governs student strikes, the only applicable legal texts are the statutes and regulations adopted by the student organizations themselves. These statutes and regulations are required to comply with Quebec’s Companies Act, which governs the legal framework of non-profit organisations. Student strikes are therefore compelled to respect the provisions of the statutes and regulations of the student associations regarding the launching and continuation of the strike (quorum for the general assembly, delays to be respected for the notice of the general assembly). Student strikes are thus legal if they respect the statutes and regulations of the student associations that vote them into effect.
While student associations and labour unions are not governed by the same laws, it is helpful to remember that both types of organizations have similar structures and that the principal objective of student associations, like labor unions, is to defend the interests of their members while giving them the opportunity to take a collective position on the issues that concern them.
Moreover, once the ultimate deciding body of a student association (usually the general assembly) takes a decision in favour of a strike, the executive committee of the association in question has therefore the mandate to carry out the democratic will of the general assembly. The members of the executive committee should assure that the strike is effective and that classes are not held.
The refusal to recognize the student strike by the university administration is necessarily a political strategy that aims to put an end to the strike as quickly as possible. It is indeed the very essence of the strategy of student strikes to put economic pressure on the university administration and, in this manner, on the gouvernment. That is why it is important to not be misled by affirmations lacking in legal basis coming from the university and collegial administrations.
The Quebec Government is set to increase tuition fees by 75% over five years (from 2012 to 2017), for a total of $1625, starting with an increase 325$ this fall.
Such an increase would deny 30,000 students from low-income families and other socioeconomic groups their right to education based on merit.
On November 10 2011, over 200,000 students went on strike! We were over 30,000 walking the streets of Montreal protesting the hikes. Prior to that, students engaged in a number of demonstrations and actions to protest against the strike. But clearly we need to do more! Students across the province are planning a general strike to pressure the government this winter semester. As of today, 65 000 students are already on unlimited strike, and 10,000 more have a strike mandate and will join the general strike.
Consult this research document by Free Education Montreal on why we need to fight against the tuition hikes, why strikes have been effective in the past, and what a strike would mean for you.
Make sure no one is presenting you misleading arguments. Check out: Do we really need to raise tuition fees: Eight misleading arguments for the hikes - a publication of IRIS (Institute of Research and Socio-Economic Information).
Eliminating tuition fees is economically viable and socially just. Check out the details on IRIS’s research Post-secondary Education: Should We Charge Tuition, or Have Free Education?
Go to General Assembly (GA)/Special General Meeting (SGM), if one is organized by your department and/or faculty and have your say! If none is organised, get in touch with the mobilization folks in your campus (Concordia mob squad / McGill mob squad – for Dawson and Vanier, more to come !).