Canada: Elementary teachers strike in several Ontario school boards, including Ottawa

North America/ Canada/ 11.02.2020/ Source: globalnews.ca.

 

Elementary teachers hit the picket lines Wednesday at several school boards, including in Ottawa, as part of their rotating strikes that appear to have no end in sight.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) escalated its job action this week and is now targeting each board twice a week, including provincewide strikes set for Thursday and Feb. 11.

Union president Sam Hammond said Tuesday that the union was close to a deal with the government after three days of talks last week, but the province’s negotiators suddenly tabled new proposals at the 11th hour that ETFO couldn’t accept.

The two sides were close to an agreement on three or four key issues when the government changed course, Hammond said, and now there are no new bargaining dates scheduled.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce has said the government has put forward “reasonable proposals.”

ETFO members are off the job Wednesday in the Ottawa-Carleton, Kawartha Pine Ridge, Keewatin-Patricia, Lakehead, Near North, Penetanguishene Protestant Separate, Rainy River, Simcoe County and Upper Canada school boards, as well as the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre.

All four major teachers’ unions have been without contracts since Aug. 31, and bargaining is only ongoing with the union representing French teachers. High school teachers have not had talks with the government since Dec. 16, and English Catholic teachers had one day of negotiations Monday after talks broke off last month, but nothing further is scheduled.

All unions are engaged in some form of job action.

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