Ontario high school teachers plan further job action next week, sources say

Global News has learned Ontario high school teachers plan to take further job action next week.

The moves comes after approximately 55,000 members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) staged a one-day strike Wednesday that saw 628,000 students out of class.

It’s unclear what form the job action will take next week. Sources not authorized to speak publicly said OSSTF will announce their plans publicly on Friday.

The union needs to give the government a five-day notice if they plan on striking again. If that is their intention and strike action is announced Friday, members would be able to walk off the job again by Wednesday.

Talks broke down Dec. 4 after the OSSTF and government failed to reach a deal on a new collective agreement.

“Sadly, Stephen Lecce’s bargaining team chose not to meet with us in the days leading up to our strike deadline,” OSSTF President Harvey Bischof said at the time.

Bischof added that the government offered nothing new to parents, students and education workers.

The union is seeking a roll back of a number of government moves including mandatory e-learning and increased class sizes.

On Dec. 1, Global News reported the results of the government’s consultations on class sizes, which showed Ontario parents overwhelming disapprove an increase.

The government has yet to make the results of that survey public, despite repeated calls for the results to be revealed.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said during question period on Thursday that “this government unequivocally stands against escalation by teacher union leadership.”

“We opposed it yesterday and we oppose it in the coming days given that they’ve been pre-positioning the fact that they want to further escalate impacting our kids most,” he said.

The province’s elementary teachers are slated to be at the bargaining table Monday with the province as their union, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), also looks to ink a deal.

On Friday, thousands of elementary school teachers plan to hold a demonstration, coinciding with the end of the ETFO’s second week of work-to-rule strike action.

The rally, beginning at 9 a.m., is scheduled to take place at the Beanfield Centre at Exhibition Place and will feature a speech from broadcaster and environmentalist Dr. David Suzuki.

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