The Association générale des étudiants de langue et littérature françaises (AGELF), McGill’s French Language and Literature students’ association, has voted to go on strike against austerity measures from March 30 to April 3, after passing a referendum motion to that effect on March 19. These students will now join tens of thousands of university and CEGEP students mobilizing against cuts to services made by the provincial Liberal government that will negatively impact students.
AGELF’s referendum included two motions. The first was for a one-day strike to occur on April 2, the day of the Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (ASSÉ)’s anti-austerity demonstration, which passed with 79.07 per cent in favour. The second motion, brought forth during the assembly, was to strike for a week instead of a day and passed with 53.5 per cent of the vote.
“I think the idea was to mark our solidarity from the very beginning of the movement,” Ghislaine Le Moing, a U3 joint honours English and French Literature major, told The Daily. She noted that, because the department has a greater proportion of Quebec students than most other departments, its students have looked favourably on student strikes in the past.
Following the passing of the motion, AGELF commented in French on the strike vote on its Facebook page: “AGELF considers it its duty to make sure that the strike mandate voted by its students is respected, throughout the period from March 30 to April 3.” It also announced that it will be holding a “strike council” on March 25 to allow people to “exchange different methods for mobilization, negotiation with the administration, and general organization of the strike days.”
Le Moing said that AGELF members hoped to inspire other students to hold similar votes. “A lot of people at the GA mentioned that they were hoping to galvanize other departments, other faculties,” she said.
“By having our department strike now, we were hoping that maybe it would encourage other departments to strike too.”