Tens of thousands of education workers across Ontario have begun a work-to-rule campaign in a bid to pressure the provincial government into making concessions in contract negotiations.
Talks between the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), school boards and the province ended Sunday night, according to a statement from Minister of Education Stephen Lecce.
The talks, which restarted Saturday, did not result in an agreement and Sunday marked the final effort to stave off a work-to-rule campaign.
The union representing 55,000 education support workers in Ontario will begin pulling back on various services Monday.
“It is deeply disappointing that CUPE has decided to end talks this weekend and proceed with a partial withdrawal of services, despite a limited number of outstanding items at the table,” Lecce’ statement read.
Clerical staff have been told not to supervise children or update the school’s websites and social media feeds. Education assistants will not allow classes to proceed and custodians will not pick up garbage outside or clean hallways offices and gyms.
The Toronto District School board issued a statement saying schools in the city will remain open and “principals and vice-principals will work together with staff to maintain a caring and positive school environment for students.”
The statement provided more details on the services that will be withdrawn including school compost and recycling programs, cutting grass and other ground maintenance duties and collecting money for school-related initiatives and fundraising. Click here for a full list of services that will be impacted during the work-to-rule campaign.
A spokeswoman for CUPE tells CityNews they have the support of parents who are “frustrated” and “sick of cuts.”
Here’s CUPE’s response: “parents are behind us, they’re frustrated, they’re sick of cuts, they’re sick of paying the price so we can give money to wineries, breweries, cideries, & saying: why can’t we invest this money in our children’s future?” #onpoli @CityNews pic.twitter.com/LoU65sDWSB
— Tina Yazdani (@TinaYazdani) September 29, 2019
CUPE is just one of several unions locked in talks with the province and so far none have reached a deal.
The talks came as a result of the government ordering school boards to increase class sizes, which will mean almost 4000 fewer teachers in the system over four years.