Ontario’s public high school teachers hold province-wide, one-day walkout

OSSTF bargaining team

 

Ontario’s public high school teachers hold province-wide, one-day walkout

 

Nov. 29, 2019

Global Korean Post

 

Teachers and education workers represented by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) will participate in a one-day, province-wide full withdrawal of services on Wednesday, December 4, if a new agreement is not reached before then.

 

The one-day strike will follow six days of information pickets and a limited withdrawal of administrative services that began November 26.

“This week we began a job action carefully devised to have no impact on students,” said OSSTF/FEESO President Harvey Bischof. “It’s clear from these past two days of bargaining, however, that our action is having no impact on the tone or substance of negotiations.”

“Through months of bargaining, the management team has avoided any meaningful discussion of class size, staffing, mandatory e-learning, or any other issue that impacts the quality of student learning,” Bischof said. “Even in light of our current job action, far too little has changed at the table. We are left with no choice but to intensify our efforts to defend our education system against a government that has already begun to sabotage it.”

“We do recognize that our one-day walkout will cause short-term disruption in the lives of students and parents, and we are disappointed that we’ve been driven to take this job action. We cannot, however, stand aside and do nothing while the long-term interests of students are being compromised by the Ford government,” concluded Bischof.

Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, issued the following statement regarding the decision of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) to escalate to a strike only two days after initiating a work-to-rule campaign:

“Strikes hurt kids. Our Government has been clear, we want deals that keep students in class. For teacher unions to leave the table, to turn their back on our children, and to escalate to the point of compromising their education, is deeply troubling for parents and our Government.

Our Government has demonstrated consistently it is reasonable and student-centric by making major moves that have not been matched or reciprocated by the teachers’ unions.

In fact, on the days we made reasonable offers – reducing class room sizes from 28 to 25 and reducing online learning courses from four to two – the unions decided to escalate. This is wrong, and our students deserve better.

I call on OSSTF to remain at the bargaining table, with third-party, independent mediation, up until the deadline. All parties that are truly committed to the success of our children will consider every tool available to avoid strikes which hurt our students.

Our aim, as was the case with CUPE, is to get a deal that provides continuity for parents, and educational stability for students.

Our Government will never leave the table and continue to remain available 24/7 to reach a deal that keeps students in class.”

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