President of local teachers union disappointed province won’t budge on cuts
Educators from BMLSS picket outside school. December 4, 2019. (Nathan Shubert, MyMuskokaNOW.com staff.
MUSKOKA, ON – The union representing Ontario teachers and the province remains “far apart” when it comes to a potential deal.
The Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) said its negotiators stayed at the bargaining table right up to the midnight strike deadline Tuesday. The union claimed Minister of Education Stephen Lecce didn’t present any proposals, which led to the one day teachers strike experienced in Muskoka and Haliburton.
Local OSSTF president Colin Matthew said he is disappointed in the Ford government for not budging when it comes to the decision to increase class sizes, implement mandatory e-learning and not increasing pay for teachers.
Mathew said educators are falling behind the cost of living in Ontario and a recently leaked provincial consultation showed 70 percent of parents are against increased class sizes.
While students may get the day off, Mathew said teachers will be picketing outside of schools all day. From 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. educators will be protesting outside Gravenhurst High School, BMLSS, Huntsville Secondary School and Haliburton Highlands Secondary School.
Lecce said Tuesday evening that the province is committed to finding a solution to avoid the strike.
“My message to parents, on the eve of potential job action, is that our Government has remained reasonable at the negotiating table, with the objective of keeping students in class,” Lecce said.