Teachers and students are taking action in Montreal, Canada to fight deep cuts, which are harming public education. Teachers unions have voted to take action in April against the cuts and are starting with a picket outside schools on March 31st. And on Thursday April 2nd, teachers and their unions took part in mass protests against austerity - the biggest seen in Quebec so far.

Seven of the eight teachers unions have voted 80% in favour of action. Teachers leaders say that the feeling among their members is so strong that at some of the assemblies illegal action was proposed. As one put it: 'There is a degree of anger in this space that I have never seen before.' The government's proposals include freezing teachers' pay for two years, followed by a 1% pay rise for the two years following and an increase in class sizes. One teachers' leader said:

'The government is making us bear the burden of trying to get to a zero defecit, as well as the pupils, yet it continues to subsidise private shools . . . Members want to defend their working onditions as well as children's learning conditions and public education.'

Meanwhile students have been on the streets in their thousands for several days protesting education cuts as well as other government policies such as extractive policies which are impacting the environment and indigenous peopls. These protests follow on from daily protests since the beginning of the new year against cuts, by unions and social movements. Now the students have been violently attacked by riot police using tear gas and stun grenades, with over 300 arrests in the last few days.

In 2012 there were inspiring mass protests of students against university fees, which eventually forced the resignation of the province's education minister. On this occasion, unions, teachers, social movements and students are joining together to fight the prescription which is being used by governments in countries all over the globe: the attempt to make public services and the people who depend on them pay for the financial crisis, which is none of their making.