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Public elementary teachers could strike as early as Nov. 25
Chris Herhalt, CP24.com
Published Friday, November 8, 2019 11:56AM EST
Last Updated Friday, November 8, 2019 5:41PM EST
The union representing Ontario’s public elementary teachers says talks with the province brokered by a conciliator have failed and will be in a legal strike position by Nov. 25.
“ETFO is fighting for investment, not cuts in education, but Doug Ford’s Education Minister Stephen Lecce isn’t listening,” said Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario President Sam Hammond.
The public elementary teachers join their secondary school cousins, the Ontario Secondary School Teacher’s Federation, whose conciliation efforts also failed, putting them in a legal strike position in ten days.
Key to the negotiations is the Ford government’s plan to remove close to 10,000 teachers out of the education system over the next five years through attrition, driven by their efforts to raise the average classroom size in high schools to 25 students, and the average size in elementary school classrooms to 24.
The government also wants both unions to accept no more than a one per cent per year wage increase, something that has angered unions across the broader public sector.
“ETFO will keep trying to reach a fair deal during this time,” Hammond said Friday. It’s on the government’s shoulders to start investing in public education so that our students can succeed.”
Speaking to Newstalk 1010, Education Minister Stephen Lecce said it is regrettable that the unions decided to escalate.
"I want to make sure that the parties know that in good faith I want to continue to work with them...so we can keep kids in class," Lecce said.