Worker strikes have been pretty massive in Canadian news lately. From the Canada Post strikes disrupting service over the last few weeks to the recurring SAQ employee walk-outs, we're not new to workers protesting their employment conditions.
TL;DR Over 55,000 Quebec students are on strike this week to protest their unpaid internships. The goal is to make the internships paid positions protected under Quebec's labour standards law. If an agreement with the CAQ government is not reached, an unlimited general strike will begin next year.
Despite this, it still comes as a shock to hear that students in Quebec have decided to once again to walk out of class – not just a few either, over 55,000 post-secondary students will engage in the protest throughout the week.
Such engagement is generally a good thing. But the province is still reeling from the memory of the 2012 protests that basically shut down the city of Montreal. Demonstrations of that scope are not expected this time, but students hope the strike will still make a difference.
You might be wondering why, exactly, the young adults are going on strike this time. Well, it happens to be the unpaid internships that affect all levels of study.
The university students are demanding that their internships become paid positions and be covered under Quebec's labour standards law.
This way, the interns would have ensured protection in the case of harassment, assault, or an accident while in the workplace.
Another issue with unpaid university internships is that they're extremely common in women-dominated fields of study, furthering the disadvantage women already have in the workplace.
Quebec's CAQ government is moving forward to address unpaid interships in the province, but also claims that it isn't yet ready to make any offers to the students.
The students on strike are only getting started though, with the threat of an unlimited general strike at the beginning of next year if they don't reach a compromise by the end of this week.
Students are planning massive protests in major cities across Quebec tomorrow. Only time will tell if a conclusion is reached to finally give fair wages and benefits to the interns.
Stay tuned for more information.