In France, massive mobilization of teachers against anti-Covid-19 protocols
Nearly 38.5% of teachers were on strike in schools Thursday, according to the education ministry, and nearly 78,000 people demonstrated in France, according to the interior ministry, to protest against the “mess” caused by the proliferation of health protocols. After a meeting with labor organizations in the evening, the government promised FFP2 masks and replacements.
“Ras-le-bol”: teachers and other staff of National Education, exasperated by the waltz of health protocols linked to Covid-19, participated in a widely followed and manifested strike, Thursday, January 13, to ask for answers to the government, whose leader Jean Castex received the unions in the evening at the end of this day.
After 3:30 a.m. of a meeting in which also participated the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, by videoconference and the Minister of Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, the latter announced the provision of “5 million masks FFP2 “for kindergarten teachers on request and the distribution of surgical masks from the beginning of next week for education personnel.
He also promised “several thousand” replacements “to deal with the crisis”, with the recruitment of “another 3,300 contract workers” and the use of additional lists, that is to say to candidates who have had the competition but were not recruited, a long-standing demand of the unions.
Faced with the disruptions caused by the health crisis, the evaluations of “mid-CP”, which were to begin next week, will be “postponed to a deadline which remains to be defined”. As for the specialty exams of the bac, which normally take place in March, the minister indicated that he would “do an analysis again with the representative organizations” to “see if it is appropriate to have a postponement of these tests. from March to the month of June “.
“We have obtained concrete progress. Now, action must follow,” Guislaine David, general secretary of Snuipp-FSU, the first primary union, told AFP after the meeting. “It does not answer everything, but we see that we did not strike for nothing,” she added.
Nearly 78,000 people (77,500) demonstrated in France, including 8,200 in Paris, according to the Interior Ministry, which recorded 136 actions across the country.
Nearly 38.5% of teachers were on strike Thursday in kindergartens and elementary schools, according to the Ministry of Education, and 75% according to Snuipp-FSU, the first primary union, which announced one in two schools closed and mentioned “a historic mobilization”. In middle and high schools, 23.7% of teachers were mobilized, according to the ministry. The Snes-FSU, the first secondary union, has put forward the figure of 62% of strikers.
All of the National Education unions, bringing together teachers but also nurses, AESH (accompanying persons with disabilities) or school staff, joined – a rarer occurrence – by inspectors and heads of establishments, have called for this mobilization, denouncing “an indescribable mess” because of health protocols.
Tensions are mounting, with an Education Minister once a good student in government and now in turmoil.
“I throw in the towel”
“It is exhaustion, exasperation after 22 months of health crisis, incessant changes that we can sometimes understand, but we need better communication”, explained in the Parisian procession Bruno Bobkiewicz, general secretary of the main union school heads (SNPDEN).
“Three protocols in ten days, that’s nonsense. We lie to parents, because it is a daycare which is currently open,” testified for her part Anne Gau-Segonzac, 59, director of a school elementary of Montrouge (Hauts-de-Seine).
For Maxime, 20, education assistant (AED) for two years at the Joliot-Curie high school in Nanterre (Hauts-de-Seine), “with everything we are asked to do for the management of the health crisis ( …), we can no longer carry out our missions “.
A school nurse, in post for 18 years, tells, it, that “the working conditions became so difficult since Christmas that (she) made the decision, (she) throws in the towel”. “I am leaving National Education. I am going back to the hospital where, even in the midst of the Covid crisis, it was less painful.”
In Lyon, more than 3,000 demonstrators according to the unions, 2,200 according to the police, demonstrated in the afternoon. “The directors are exhausted, the assistants are lost, we no longer understand anything about the protocols, we are fed up with teaching in these conditions”, testified Julie Merlin, 28, a kindergarten teacher for two years at Vénissieux.
In Bordeaux, where some 3,000 people demonstrated according to the organizers, 1,900 according to the prefecture, the procession stopped in front of the rectorate. Teachers hung on the railings the fabric masks provided by the National Education on which they wrote messages such as “Blanquer resignation”. “This umpteenth protocol was the last straw,” protested Laetitia, a kindergarten teacher in Landiras (Gironde).
About 2,000 demonstrators marched in Montpellier according to the prefecture, 1,500 in Lille, behind a banner “If school coughs, the republic is choking” and 850 in Limoges, where the words “Blanquer le virus which kills education “were on the ground in red letters.
In Clermont-Ferrand, where 1,200 people marched according to the prefecture, signs called for the resignation of the Minister of Education. In Rennes, they were 4,500 according to the organizers, 2,200 according to the police.
In Marseille, where the posters “closed school” were numerous on the doors of establishments, the morning procession counted 2,200 demonstrators according to the police. “Less contempt, more means” or “Blank one wants a nurse”, could one read on the signs.
Beyond education professionals, the high school movements FIDL, MNL and La Voix lycéenne, as well as the FCPE, the first organization of parents of pupils, had joined the mobilization, and parents showed their support for the strike.
“I understand the exasperation of the teachers”, assured Carine, a mother of a pupil, in front of an elementary school in the north-east of Paris.
“It is true that it is painful, I understand that the staff are fed up”, also estimates François Lordenimus, parent of a pupil of Caluire-et-Cuire (Rhône). “They can’t take it anymore, people.”