Students will be back at school in Mississauga, Brampton, Hamilton, Halton, Niagara and Durham
Published November 7, 2022 at 12:36 pm
Tens of thousands of CUPE education workers in Mississauga, Brampton, Hamilton and across Ontario are calling off strike action starting tomorrow (Nov. 8) after the provincial government rescinded the controversial notwithstanding clause earlier today.
That means hundreds of thousands of students of all ages will return to classes on Tuesday as schools, which had closed last Friday due to the labour disruption, will reopen.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he extended “a massive olive branch” to the 55,000 workers this morning (Nov. 7) when he promised to rescind the notwithstanding clause if CUPE called off strike action and returned to the bargaining table.
Early this afternoon, CUPE responded at a press conference in Toronto, saying it will “collapse all protest sites” starting tomorrow now that the controversial legislation has been rescinded.
Mark Hancock, national CUPE president, described the large labour presence at the press conference as “an unprecedented gathering of labour leaders due to an attack on labour.”
“Bill 28 (Keeping Students in Class Act 2022) is a direct threat to workers’ rights and to Charter rights of all Canadians,” he said, adding it has united the labour movement as never before. “They took on the Ford government and the government blinked.”
Hancock added there are “55,000 education workers here in Ontario who still need a fair deal to help them make ends meet…and we’ll stand with them until a deal is made.”
CUPE Ontario school boards leader Laura Walton said workers will collapse school protest sites on Tuesday “as a gesture of good faith” towards negotiations.
“I hope this gesture will be met by another good faith (gesture from the Province) at the bargaining table,” said Walton, noting a deal is now closer after the rescinding of “draconian legislation.”
“We have our bargaining rights back,” she added.
Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the most important thing now is to get kids back to school.
“CUPE has agreed to withdraw their strike action and come back to the negotiating table. In return, at the earliest opportunity, we will revoke Bill 28 in its entirety and be at the table so that kids can return to the classroom after two difficult years,” Lecce said in a statement this afternoon. “As we have always said and called for, kids need to be back in the classroom, where they belong.”
CUPE education workers walked off the job last Friday, closing schools across the province.
After the disruption of missed in-person classes during the COVID-19 pandemic, students need to be back in the classroom, said Ford at a press conference earlier Monday.
He noted the time away from school took a toll on students’ mental, physical and emotional health.
“Test scores have fallen, parents are exhausted. A generation of students are struggling,” Ford said. “Students need stability. They should be in the classroom with their teachers.”insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising