While high school teachers are back to school on Thursday, there’s a new strike threat.
The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) has issued a statement saying teachers and occasional teachers in Peel, Durham and Sudbury schools boards will “resume a full withdrawal of services on June 10.”
On Tuesday, the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) ruled the teachers’ strikes were illegal, ordered them back to work on Wednesday and imposed a two-week moratorium on any further strikes.
“We will be acting in full compliance with the OLRB decision,” said OSSTF president Paul Elliott in a release. “The ruling calls for a two-week moratorium so that we can, as the OLRB Chair phrased it, ‘cleanse’ our local strike actions of any aspects that are ‘in respect of central bargaining’.”
“We emphatically maintain that these strikes have always been about local issues.”
In its decision, the OLRB said the strikes were “in contravention of the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2014” and they have ordered the OSSTF to “cease and desist their unlawful strike” immediately.
Education Minister Liz Sandals introduced back-to-work legislation on Monday; however, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said her party would not support it.
During Question Period on Wednesday, Horwath accused the Liberals for not getting a deal in place during the strike.
“They lost kids six weeks of their education because they are not being serious in terms of their obligation to bargaining,” Horwath said.
However, Sandals was quick to play defence saying students could have been “back in school even earlier in the week had it not been for the NDP blocking the legislation.”
She added her focus is to get the back-to-work legislation passed by Thursday, to avoid another strike before the end of the school year.
Teachers in the three regions have been on strike between three and six weeks. Approximately 70,000 high school students were out of class as a result.
With files from Justin Piercy and Momin Qureshi