April 25, 2012

Report from the CLASSE negotiating committee

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois haunts Jean Charest...

QUEBEC CITY, April 25, 2012

After 11 weeks on strike by college and university students in Quebec, the government invited us to a meeting on various proposals to resolve the current impasse. This meeting was a closed session lasting 48 hours required by the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports, Line Beauchamp. The in-camera meeting was accompanied by a truce, which we refused to bend into [CLASSE because the `truce` was unilateral CLASSE did not accept or reject it, merely noting that they had not planned any actions for 48 hours -eds].

The Minister announced that we have been excluded on the basis of actions of our coalition, so it is time to report to students on how the process of discussions between the government and representatives of student associations have gone.

From the outset, the Minister said that currently, the government's position remained firm on tuition.

However, it has being willing to hear our demands. We spent long hours explaining clearly our positions and demands on student tuition and university management. In what seemed more to accounts than a dialogue, the government tabled a proposal dealing with student financial aid, quality assurance and university management.

The government's offer made ​​no mention of the issue of tuition fees. This proposal was unanimously rejected and condemned by all the associations present. We later learned that the government's negotiating committee had no mandate to discuss fees with us.

The dialogue has subsequently been temporarily interrupted. The delegates of the Student Associations expected Wednesday in Quebec City that the government will give the mandate to its representatives to discuss the real issue when the Minister announced at a press conference that had excluded the CLASSE of the negotiation process.

The FEUQ [The Federation of University Students of Quebec - eds] reiterated its offer to include us, unconditionally, on its delegation team, so the negotiation process is conducted with all the student associations. As a negotiating committee with a mandate to form a joint bargaining committee with other national student organizations if such a committee were formed unconditionally, we accepted their invitation. The FEUQ said that if the minister insists on excluding CLASSE the will negotiations break down.

If negotiations resume, the student associations agree to report to their members every 24 hours to keep them abreast of developments. We want to ensure maximum transparency in the negotiation process. [...]

The bargaining committee wants to remind you that we never folded, and we never will fold because of a call for a truce in order to negotiate.

In solidarity -- and please, let`s keep up the pressure!

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