Tuesday, January 21, 2020

LKDSB not impacted by latest strike action

Public high schools will be open this week, as the Lambton-Kent District School Board will not be impacted by the latest round of strike action in the province.

“​The Lambton Kent District School Board (LKDSB) is aware that at other school board locations across the province, members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) will participate in a legal strike, involving a one-day full withdrawal of services, on Wednesday, December 11, 2019, unless a settlement is reached prior to this date,” public school board officials stated.

“Important note: The LKDSB is not directly impacted by the one-day, full strike action. As such, all LKDSB secondary schools and programs will be open on Wednesday, December 11, 2019.”

Public school board officials added: “Contract negotiations between the Ministry of Education, the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association and OSSTF are ongoing and the LKDSB is hopeful a fair agreement can be reached.”

All OSSTF/FEESO members employed by the following school boards will be engaged in the full withdrawal of services:

– Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board

– Grand Erie District School Board

– Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board

– Near North District School Board

– Rainy River District School Board

– Simcoe County District School Board

– Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board

– Toronto District School Board

– Trillium Lakelands District School Board

These actions follow a one-day, province-wide walkout on December 4.

A limited withdrawal of services, which began on November 26, will continue province-wide, OSSTF officials stated.

“Even after it was confirmed that the government’s own public consultations reveal overwhelming opposition to Doug Ford’s education agenda, the government is still refusing to engage in serious discussions about mandatory e-learning, class size, staffing, or any other issue that affects the learning environments in our schools,” stated OSSTF/FEESO President Harvey Bischof.

“We are disappointed and mystified at the government’s apparent indifference to the legitimate and well-documented concerns of parents, students, and educators alike. Owing to that indifference, our efforts at the bargaining table and our job actions to this point have yielded virtually no progress. We have no choice but to continue our efforts.”

Bischof added: “We absolutely understand that our targeted job actions create a temporary disruption for the students and families affected. By contrast, the Doug Ford agenda, if it is allowed to be implemented, will create long-term disruption for students across the entire education system, and leave publicly-funded education in Ontario deeply and permanently damaged.”

Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, issued a statement in response to the OSSTF’s announcement of job action escalation last week.

“Union leadership has made clear they will strike again unless we accept their demand for a $1.5 billion increase in compensation, which includes pay and benefits,” Lecce said.

“We value teachers and their commitment to our students. However, OSSTF teachers on average make over $92,000 per year and are the second highest paid in the nation. Our aim is a fiscally sustainable education system. We have consistently been fair and reasonable, focused on keeping kids in class.”

Lecce added that repeated escalation at the expense of students’ education, to advance higher compensation, higher wages, and even more generous benefits, is unacceptable for parents and students in the province.

“We call on OSSTF to cease from escalation, stay at the table, and focus on improving learning in the classroom, not enhancing compensation for their members,” Lecce said.

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