National Education: a historic strike

All professional categories of National Education mobilized on Thursday January 13 to protest against the current management of the health crisis and demand that massive resources be provided to this sector. This strike is unprecedented in its scale (with in particular more than one in two teachers who walked out) but also because all the unions, including FO, had called for it. The ministry, which received them, made announcements, without succeeding in convincing. A day administration dead was organized today, January 14, in National Education.

After the very sustained mobilization of National Education staff, they will finally have been listened to. Partially anyway. Thursday, January 13, the rate of strikers was estimated at 75 % in the first degree and 62 % in colleges and high schools. The ministry announced a striker rate of 27.34 % of all staff.

This major mobilization follows an unprecedented call from almost all the unions. They denounce in particular the management of the health crisis, the lack of measures to ensure the safety of students and staff as well as the non-recruitment of teachers, CPEs and additional AEDs to ensure replacements.

Under the fire of criticism in his last days, the Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, was strongly criticized by the demonstrators. It is a mobilization that is described as historic, given its scale and because it brought together all the professional categories of National Education., underlines Clément Poullet of the FNEC FO-FP. In the streets of Paris, Grenoble and Rennes, administrative staff, inspectors and management staff walked alongside teachers, AEDs and school nurses. Yves Veyrier, secretary general of Force Ouvrière, was at their side, in Paris, signifying the support of the confederation for this mobilization.

Anger that comes from afar

It is clear that, if the new health protocol was the trigger for this mobilization, it’s an anger that comes from afar, believes Franck Antraccoli of ID-FO (Management staff). Since the start of the crisis, there have been many disputes over the ministry’s communication: protocols unveiled the day before for the next day, announcements only through the media… But more broadly, the pace of reforms that impact the daily lives of agents is very sustained, without the consequences being really anticipated by politicians. This induces an overload of work, a permanent evaluation for all and it is normal for things to crack on all sides.

In the processions, many signs evoked the working conditions of the agents. If health claims are important, they were not the only ones, specifies Clément Poullet. There has been a lot of talk about wages and salaries. The staff took advantage of this day to make all their demands heard. There is a contempt of the minister towards all categories of Education, believes Philippe Beaufort of SPASEEN FO. He says that we do not demonstrate against a virus, but we, if we demonstrate, it is for better conditions of exercise of our missions.

Ads that fail to convince

Shortly before the start of the Paris demonstration, the trade unions had requested an audience, not with Jean-Michel Blanquer but with the Prime Minister, Jean Castex. They were finally received in the early evening for a meeting that ended late. A lot of time for not much, even if this hearing made in an emergency shows that the mobilization has destabilized the executive, says Clément Poullet. Following this meeting, the government announced the recruitment of 3,300 additional contractors, 1,500 AED and 1,500 administrative contractors.

We use the same recipes applied since the start of the pandemic: appeal to precarious and underpaid professions. However, there are very few candidates for these positions. To these 3,300 additional contract staff until the end of the semester, will be added, when possible, people from the additional lists in the 1is degree. It was one of our demands, says the activist. But this implies filling in these lists which are exhausted in certain academies. Similarly, the government has refrained from quantifying this use of additional lists.

Alongside Jean-Michel Blanquer and Olivier Véran, Jean Castex has undertaken to provide five million FFP2 masks for certain National Education personnel. But co-workers weren’t striking for a box of masks ! They were demonstrating against an unenforceable protocol. And the latter has absolutely not been adjusted by the government following the mobilization, observes Clément Poullet. The secretary general of the FNEC FP-FO specifies that an inter-federal meeting is expected to prepare the continuation of the mobilization, in particular on January 27.

Administration dead this January 14 in the education services

On the side of the management and administrative staff, the mobilization is already continuing as of January 14. On strike, they are protesting against article 41 of the 3DS law (Law differentiation, decentralization, deconcentration and simplification of local public action) currently under consideration in Parliament. This text plans to place the assistant managers of colleges and high schools (EPLE), exercising material, financial and administrative management functions, under the functional authority of the department and region presidents. Initially, this amendment, introduced by the Senate, provided for an experimentation of this device, recounts Franck Antraccoli, of ID-FO. But the National Assembly extended this article following the intervention of the Prime Minister. What struck me during these discussions was to see, through certain speeches by deputies, their ignorance of the functioning of schools.

This text therefore provides for placing under the supervision of the territorial authority (department or region), the assistant managers, who are nevertheless civil servants of the State. For example, the budget of establishments under local authorities, when the assistant manager wants to oppose them, we know who will win , points out Philippe Beaufort. It is the door open to the decentralization of the administration of colleges and high schools and the end of national education. Mobilization day administration dead stood to request the withdrawal of this article.

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