The first phase of the pressure tactics to force the provincial government into making concessions in contract negotiations has begun. Education workers across Ontario began a work-to-rule campaign this week after talks between the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), school boards and the province ended Sunday night.
The union representing 55,000 education support workers in Ontario began pulling back on various services from Monday.
“It is deeply disappointing that CUPE has decided to end talks this weekend and proceed with a partial withdrawal of services, despite a limited number of outstanding items at the table,” Lecce’ statement read.
Clerical staff have been told not to supervise children or update the school’s websites and social media feeds. Education assistants will not allow classes to proceed and custodians will not pick up garbage outside or clean hallways offices and gyms.
The Toronto District School board issued a statement saying schools in the city will remain open and “principals and vice-principals will work together with staff to maintain a caring and positive school environment for students.”
The statement provided more details on the services that will be withdrawn including school compost and recycling programs, cutting grass and other ground maintenance duties and collecting money for school-related initiatives and fundraising.
A spokeswoman for CUPE tells CityNews they have the support of parents who are “frustrated” and “sick of cuts.”
CUPE is just one of several unions locked in talks with the province and so far, none have reached a deal.
The decision to increase class sizes has become a contentious issue as it means over four years there will be almost 4000 fewer teachers in the system. The Ontario government has reiterated that this won’t mean teachers will lose their jobs, but rather retiring teachers won’t be replaced. -CINEWS