France: education workers demand better sanitary measures

published 9 November 2020 updated 30 November 2020

French teaching unions seek a commitment from the public authorities to improve the sanitary protocol to ensure the full and total protection of their health and that of their pupils.

Public employers must take every measure to protect teachers’ health

An interunion committee composed of the FSU, the FNEC-FP-FO, the CGT Educ’action, the SNALC, SUD Education and the SNCL-FAEN has stressed that “the sanitary situation linked to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic necessitates the full and total protection of public agents’ health”.

The trade union organisations have:

  • Reiterated that this regulatory obligation is the responsibility of public sector employers, who must take all measures necessary to ensure this protection and pointed out that “unfortunately this is not always the case”.
  • Insisted that “adequate sanitary conditions” be put in place, especially the reduction in the number of pupils per class requested by education teams, through the recruitment of more staff.

They have also called on all teaching staff, whether permanent or contract workers, to strike on 10 November.

The government must take stock of this anger

For its part, UNSA-Éducation has asked the government to “take rapid stock of the tensions and anger within the teaching profession and take the actions required to enable implementation of the improved sanitary protocol, particulary within upper secondary schools”.

In addition to the demands relating to compliance with the protocol, the union has:

  • Made clear proposals regarding arrangements for the baccalaureate and other exams.
  • Demanded that the position of vulnerable staff be taken into account and remote working implemented wherever possible.
  • Demanded the urgent recruitment of personnel, including teaching assistants, to meet the growing need for staff replacements and help reduce the number of students per classroom.

The union has also made it clear to the public authorities that “all staff must be heard”. We will act with the other trade union organisations to obtain the progress necessary on their working conditions within the context of this crisis.”