“We are not going on strike against the virus, but against Blanquer”, say the demonstrators

They had predicted a dark day in National Education and they put their threats into action. Many teachers, CPEs, school directors, principals, principals, Aesh (accompanying persons with disabilities) gathered at Place Edmond-Rostand in Paris, despite the cold. The ministry having announced the same morning that 38.5% of teachers were on strike in the primary while the SNUipp-FSU, the first primary union, announced 75% of strikers. In middle and high schools, 23.7% of teachers are mobilized, according to the ministry, while the Snes-FSU, the first secondary school union, announced 62% of strikers.

They came to cry out their exasperation at the waltz of health protocols, of course, but their anger seems to crystallize around the Minister of Education, as the banners attest. “Blanquer, school of misery”, “Blanquer, the virus is you”, “Blanquer resignation”. Some recent media outings by the minister have gone badly, as evidenced by some signs: “We do not strike against the virus, but against Blanquer”, we can read.

“I demonstrate against the lies of my minister”

The demonstrators rush onto the asphalt and go up Boulevard Saint-Michel towards the Ministry of Education. Some came with their children, others with their colleagues. Guillemette, a teacher in a college in Villeneuve Saint-Georges (Val-de-Marne) even made a doll bearing the image of the minister, wearing a virus: “It is the height of contempt. It took two years to order surgical masks when we have staff in constant contact with the students. We were the only ones to be confined in unventilated classrooms at 35 ”, she declares.

Coming with her mother, a retired teacher, Pauline, a history and geo teacher in Corbeil-Essonnes (Essonne), holds up a sign where one can read: “When Blanquer passes, the school dies”. “I demonstrate against the lies of my minister. Who said that Russian hackers broke our ENTs (digital workspaces) during the first lockdown, who argues in front of the deputies that he sent the health protocol to teachers before unveiling it in the press, who said that he would not close the schools just before the first confinement … We no longer trust him and public opinion either, “she criticizes.

“The 5 years that I have just lived have been the hardest of my career”

In the ranks of the demonstrators, we plague against the non-replacement of sick teachers, the difficulty of doing class while sending work to absent students, the lack of useful materials against the virus (FFP2 masks, CO2 sensors, etc.), the overload of work involved in the management of contact cases …

Jérôme, SVT teacher at college, also criticizes the management of the health crisis at the minister’s school: “The measures he announces seem improvised and totally out of step with what is happening on the ground”. And the record he makes of the minister’s action is not glorious: “He is a good little soldier who applies a liberal education policy and leads to a two-tier school. The 5 years that I have just lived have been the hardest of my career, ”he confides. “It is the Minister of Education who has the longest life. We must not have shouted loud enough in recent years for him to leave, ”also launches Stéphanie, a school teacher in Paris.

“There is a breaking point with Jean-Michel Blanquer”

In the ranks of union leaders, the discourse is hardly more civilized. “The minister is no longer audible. There is no longer any chance that he will get credit from teachers. Moreover, some are on strike today whereas they never are usually ”, launches Stéphane Crochet, secretary general of SE-Unsa. A little further in the procession, Guislaine David, general secretary of SNUipp, is no more tender towards the tenant of the rue de Grenelle: “There is a breaking point with Jean-Michel Blanquer. He must stop insisting that schools must remain open, without securing them. He is now very isolated in the government because he is sticking to his positions. Moreover, it is the Prime Minister who took over the issue of the management of Covid-19 in schools ”.

Only Bruno Bobkiewicz, secretary general of SNPDEN-UNSA which represents the management staff, tries to depersonalize the debate: “We are not on an individual logic, but we just want to mean that these incessant changes in protocol no longer pass. Moreover, 30% of our members are on strike today, ”he announces. An alert is displayed on the cellphones of the demonstrators. Prime Minister Jean Castex will receive the unions at the end of the afternoon, in the presence of the Minister of Education, but also that of Health, Olivier Véran (tested positive, who will be connected by videoconference). The sign of a disavowal for Jean-Michel Blanquer?

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