Education Minister Liz Sandals urges teachers to return to the bargaining table, the unions have no interest at this time given all that has happened and next Monday, teachers in Ontario’s public high school will in all probability begin job action. Ofcourse these actions in the middle of summer are largely symbolic but when the new school year gets underway in September, things could be quite different.
Negotiations broke off in May and the union applied for conciliation, a move that paved the way for the legal strike action set to begin next week.
Tuesday, Sandals issued a statement indicating the government is prepared to head back to the bargaining table over the summer and open to “compromise” to reach agreements with all education partners.
“We knew this round of bargaining would be challenging given the current fiscal environment, but the best way to reach an agreement is through negotiation and collaboration,” said Sandals.
Talks with the province’s public school elementary teachers and teachers in Ontario’s public Catholic schools are also at a standstill and headed for strike action this fall.
The union issues include class sizes, a fair and transparent hiring practices, teacher professionalism and other issues” such as more supports for special needs students.
In all the union has put forward $3.2 billion worth of demands, including a 3 per cent raise each year over three years plus cost of living increases.
The cash-strapped province of Ontario can hardly afford to accede to these demands and those who will be caught in the crossfire will be hapless students and their parents.