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Back to School or Back to Strike?

Posted in Talking Politics

Published on April 10, 2015 with No Comments


Premier urges teachers to continue negoations

Ontario high schools later this month could face strikes as frustrations mount in bargaining, the teachers’ union warned.The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation is threatening to withdraw services at seven school boards: Peel, Durham, Halton, Ottawa-Carleton, Waterloo, Rainbow in Sudbury and Lakehead in Thunder Bay.There is a “high level of frustration” at the table in Durham, so the union has singled it out as the first board that could see a strike as early as April 20.

“We really have announced that we’re serious about this,”  union president Paul Elliott  is reported to have said,“We believe you should be serious about this also, and we’ve got until April 20 to work toward settling that local deal.”Education Minister Liz Sandals said unions setting strike dates is often just part of the bargaining process.

Premier Kathleen Wynne urged teachers to stay at the table.“Negotiations are always tough and they’re particularly tough in an environment where there are constrained finances,” Wynne said. “We knew the bargaining was going to be tough, but we’re committed to staying, being part of a strong and honest collective bargaining process.”This is the first round of negotiations with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation since the province brought in a new bargaining system, with both local and provincial talks.

The negotiations are also taking place as Ontario tries to eliminate a $10.9-billion deficit by the Liberal government’s self-imposed deadline of 2017-18. To that end, the province has told teachers, public servants and other major unions with whom it is negotiating that any compensation increases must be offset to achieve “net zero.”



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