Canada: Ontario education minister delivers warning letter after talks break down - PressFrom - Canada
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Canada Ontario education minister delivers warning letter after talks break down

07:35  30 september  2019
07:35  30 september  2019 Source:   globalnews.ca

Education workers to begin work-to-rule after negotiations break off

  Education workers to begin work-to-rule after negotiations break off Some 55,000 education workers in Ontario are set to embark on work-to-rule on Monday after last-minute contract talks failed to reach a deal. The decision on a legal strike position comes at the end of two days of last-minute contract talks between CUPE, the province and the Council of Trustees' Associations in an effort to avoid a work-to-rule campaign.

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a man wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce speaks to teachers before giving remarks, in Toronto, on Thursday, August 22, 2019.© THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce speaks to teachers before giving remarks, in Toronto, on Thursday, August 22, 2019.

On the evening before 55,000 educational workers initiate job action across the province, Global News has obtained a letter sent to school boards from Education Minister Stephen Lecce.

In the letter, Lecce reiterates familiar government messaging about the labour dispute and sternly warns employees about maintaining student safety.

"During this period of job action, student safety will remain the utmost priority. I know this is a position we all share, and I expect that no CUPE member will ever undertake any action that would jeopardize the safety and security of any student in the province."

Ontario education minister says he’s ‘available 24-7’ as CUPE job action escalation looms

  Ontario education minister says he’s ‘available 24-7’ as CUPE job action escalation looms Mary Unan, a communications specialist with CUPE, said the union has scheduled a 10 a.m. news conference at Queen's Park on Wednesday where "there will be an announcement, not just an update."The Ontario government is bracing for a possible escalation in job action, including the potential of a strike as early as Monday.

The education minister , Felipe Bulnes, said the two sides had made no major progress after more than four hours of talks because of disagreements on how much the government could do to provide free education for everyone. Bulnes added that the government would form a commission of experts

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Clerical staff, school custodians and educational assistants will start a work-to-rule campaign Monday morning.

On Friday, instructions from CUPE were sent to members. The instructions include office staff not supervising students and educational assistants not remaining in classrooms unless accompanied by a teacher.

The letter, which was also addressed to trustees associations, also states: "I have instructed my bargaining team to reach out to the mediator to offer further bargaining dates to CUPE, as soon as possible. We remain available to negotiate at any time."

Sunday evening, CUPE released a statement regarding the breakdown in talks.

“What the provincial government and the trustees’ associations has done is highly irresponsible,” said Laura Walton, president of CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions.

Ontario education workers prepare to begin full strike Monday

  Ontario education workers prepare to begin full strike Monday TORONTO — Thousands of education workers across Ontario are preparing to go on strike Monday. The Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents 55,000 education workers, says it has given the legally required five day's notice to begin a strike. The workers, including custodians, clerical workers and early childhood educators, started a work-to-rule campaign this week. Custodians have stopped cleaning hallways and emptying garbage cans outside schools, clerical workers have stopped finding replacements for absent staff, and education workers have stopped working overtime.

Ontario Education Minister Liz Sandals couldn’t be reached for comment Friday night. The breakdown of talks comes after the government settled with two other unions representing English Catholic teachers and public high school teachers. The contract for public elementary teachers

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"The province and the CTA had it within their power to reach a fair deal that protects services for students. But instead, they chose to disrupt students’ education by refusing to see the deal that was there to be made. Now they have left millions of students, parents and families out in the cold.”

A source with the union told Global News that CUPE believes the government is fear-mongering and that no safety concerns will arise.

The source also said Lecce has been tone-deaf to the concerns of the union: "He hasn't really been listening thus far, and we hope that changes."

"It’s a little insulting for the education minister to suggest that they have been bargaining in good faith considering that his government introduced a wage freeze for all public sector workers in the spring," said a TDSB employee that will be affected by the job action, who was not authorized to speak publicly, Sunday night.

"This legislation was designed to circumvent the impending negotiation process in the education sector."

The employee also raised concerns about the likelihood of a deal moving forward: "The Ontario Progressive Conservative government has been bargaining in bad faith and has been since before bargaining began."

Ontario education workers reach deal with province, averting Monday school strike .
Some 55,000 education workers in Ontario will not strike Monday after successful last-minute contract talks with the provincial government, according to Education Minister Stephen Lecce. The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing a number of education support workers across the province, reached a tentative deal on Sunday evening — a move that should allow public schools to open as normal. Lecce said he expects tonight's deal means students across Ontario will be able to go to school as normal on Monday morning following the "positive outcome" of the negotiations.

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