Ontario high school teachers to stage third 1-day strike next week

Dec 13 2019, 11:28 am

A third one-day strike is planned by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) for next week.

According to the OSSTF, on Wednesday, December 18, teachers and education workers in certain school boards “will take part in another one-day, full withdrawal of services in selected locations across Ontario.”

On the same day, OSSTF members in other school boards will hold information pickets in front of schools, at MPPs’ offices, and in other locations throughout the entire province, they said.

The latest strike follows a one-day, province-wide walkout on December 4, and a one-day walkout in select areas in Ontario on December 11.

As well, the OSSTF said that the limited withdrawal of services will continue.

“Since our last bargaining date on Tuesday, December 3, we have seen no change in the Minister of Education’s agenda of increasing class sizes, forcing e-learning on our high school students, and continuing the funding cuts that take valuable support staff and services out of our schools,” said OSSTF/FEESO President Harvey Bischof, in a release.

“We’re obligated to provide five days of notice in advance of any work action, and that is what we are doing today. We are hopeful that the minister is ready to get serious about bargaining next week, to come to the table in good faith and reverse his government’s devastating cuts to our students’ education system.”

Bischof said the government’s cuts will affect students for generations to come.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the union’s leadership hurts students most.

“OSSTF union leadership have made clear that they will continue to take job action—which hurts students most—unless taxpayers accept their demand of $7 billion in enhancements to salaries, benefits, and other entitlements,” Lecce said.

“If there were any question that this wasn’t about salary, those doubts were put to bed when the four teacher unions launched their challenge to legislation that deals with compensation increases for the public service.”

Lecce added that the province has made a reasonable offer on compensation, “a $750 million increase in compensation for the second highest paid educators in the country.”

He is calling on OSSTF to cease from continued job action,  and accept their offer of private mediation.

“We hope that the Ford government is ready to negotiate a fair deal,” Bischof said. “A deal that is good for students, good for education workers, good for teachers, and good for our province. But if not, we’re ready to fight for their future, and we will use every tool available to us to do so.”