By Philippe Dumesnil (The author is Professor of philosophy at the Collège de Valleyfield).
Translation source: StopTheHike.ca
Everyone has an opinion on the strike but nobody seems to be addressing the question at the heart of it all: What happens if the Government refuses to change its position and students do not return to class? The answer is of widespread concern, because if the strike continues and snowballs into a something even more large-scale, students are likely to win the fight.
The strike causes serious and costly organizational problems for each of the schools involved, especially in the case of cégeps that have been on strike for over five weeks.
Because of strike’s unforeseen delay and extension, the return to regular courses may be bumped up to mid-June, at which point professors will be beginning the summer season, taking time off from regular teaching. There are several different options facing the student population, then, each with its strong and weak points, but all costly and problematic: firstly, students could demand that schools schedule Saturday make-up classes; or, it could be proposed that the vacation time for professors could be moved to a new date; the winter session could then be extended into mid-june, with summer courses beginning in August. Professors would have to be paid overtime, the number of course lecture days might have to be reduced, etc.
In all cases, this would require complicated negotiations before coming to agreements with local unions. Tampering with the academic schedule would also potentially undermine the quality of coursework, since the summer session would have to be postpones a few weeks, causing a domino effect which would push forward the beginning of the fall session as well.
In the universities themselves, the mere though of the majority of faculty members having to renegotiate the contracts of lecturing staff points to the incredibly magnitude of the effects of the strike and the problems present.
If these complications are taken into consideration along with the difficulties of the administrative blocks and the negotiation of support and maintenance staff schedules it is clear that the Government will eventually have no choice but to negotiate.