Teachers in French-language school boards plan to strike one day a week starting February 13

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Teachers in Ontario’s French-language school boards plan to strike one day a week starting Thursday, February 13 as tensions continue to mount in disputes between education unions and the provincial government.

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The other three education unions engaged in negotiations are already organizing rotating strikes, including one on Thursday that canceled classes for nearly a million English-speaking public elementary students.

It is the most widespread work stoppage in Ontario schools since 1997, when teachers across the province staged an illegal two-week strike to protest policies introduced by Mike’s Conservative government. Harris.

The president of the union representing teachers of French-language school boards said he realizes that strikes are having an impact on families, but that members are fighting “against the deterioration of our education system“.

“Many parents, students and citizens are deeply concerned about the very real threats to the quality of our French-language education system,” said Rémi Sabourin, president of the Association des teachers franco-ontariens ( AEFO) representing 12,000 teachers. in French-language councils, in a press release.

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“We sincerely hope that the government and school boards do not ignore this historic labor and social movement.”

Negotiating contracts gets nowhere, Sabourin said.

He identified the same issues that have been raised by other unions: the government’s refusal to maintain funding to help students with special needs that was in place between 2017-19, increasing class sizes and the requirement that high school students take two online courses.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said wages and benefits are the key issue in the disputes. The government has passed a wage restraint law that limits salary increases for civil servants to one percent per year, while unions are calling for a cost of living increase of around two percent. He issued a statement on Friday saying that “the continued escalation in teacher union action has lasted far too long. Students across the province are suffering from service withdrawal and wasted classroom time. …

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“I call on union leaders to continue working with us, in good faith, to end these strikes and to focus on reaching a deal that keeps our students in the classroom to which they belong.

The union representing English-speaking public elementary students staged strikes that struck every school board in the province two days this week, including a province-wide walkout on Thursday. This union is planning the same for next week unless there is a breakthrough in the negotiations.

The union representing teachers in English public high schools and support staff from various school boards has announced plans to continue its weekly rotating strikes. Some boards, including the Renfrew County District School Board, will face strikes on February 13.

Members of the four education unions are also engaged in labor slowdowns, which in some councils include not participating in field trips or extracurricular activities and not filling out or compiling report cards completely. Elementary students in most English-speaking public schools did not receive report cards this winter, while high school students received their first semester grades but without comments.

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Strikes planned in the Ottawa area next week:

Ottawa-Carleton District School Board: Primary school teachers plan to strike February 11-13

Upper Canada District School Board: Primary school teachers plan to strike on February 10 and 11

Renfrew County District School Board: Primary school teachers plan to strike on February 11 and 12. High school teachers and support staff plan to strike on February 13.

French speaking councils: Primary and secondary school teachers plan to strike on February 13 at CEPEO and CECCE. CEPEO support staff plan to strike on February 13 in these schools: Madeleine-de-Roybon elementary school in Kingston; L’Équinoxe public elementary and secondary school in Pembroke; and Mille-Îles Public High School in Kingston. CECCE support staff plan to strike on February 13 in these schools: Center scolaire catholique Jeanne-Lajoie – Elementary pavilion, Secondary pavilion in Pembroke; Mgr-Rémi-Gaulin Catholic Elementary School in Kingston; and the Marie-Rivier Catholic High School in Kingston.

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Sylvester L. Goldfarb

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