”We respect the provisions of the Ontario Labour Relations Act – something we have requested the minister and the government to do for almost a year.” ETFO president Sam Hammond.
Toronto (11 Jan. 2013) — The leaders of Ontario's teachers unions have decided to comply with the decision by the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) and not hold a planned one-day political protest today.
“We respect the OLRB’s decision and will comply fully with the ruling,” said Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) president Sam Hammond.
“We did not believe this to be an illegal strike based on past political protests directed at the government. We respect the provisions of the Ontario Labour Relations Act – something we have requested the minister and the government to do for almost a year.”
The one day political protest that was planned was in opposition to the McGuinty governments use of Bill 115. Legislation imposes contracts that freeze wages for most of the provinces education workers but allow younger ones to move up through the salary grid. The legislation also cuts sick days in half and ends the banking of unused sick days to be cashed-out upon retirement.
Similar protests had been held at the end of 2012 when Ontario's education workers' unions conducted a number of successful one-day rotating strikes by public elementary teachers and the boycotting of extracurricular activities.
The province's Education Minister, Laurel Broten, had earlier utilized Bill 115 to impose contracts but then promised to repeal it at a future date in a move that was widely denounced as a cynical public relations gesture.
“We have said all along that this government cannot be allowed to override the fundamental rights of working Ontarians. In this instance, the OLRB has provided direction and we will abide by that. However, we still have a situation where the terms and conditions of our members’ employment have been dictated through a disgraceful misuse of government power. It cannot be business as usual in the education sector.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE