York elementary teachers start ‘job action’

Nov 19, 2012 | News

By Mamta Lulla

Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario rally at Queen’s Park in protest of the projected wage freeze, cut to benefits and strike ban later this year. COURTESY FLICKR COMMONS

The elementary school teachers in York region started their job action Monday, involving about 5,000 teachers.

The work-to-rule initiative is part of the protest against legislation passed early this year which cut teachers’ benefits and froze wages, as reported by the CBC.

“We will not stop until we have an agreement. It may escalate and become a stronger job action but it won’t stop until we have a settlement,” David Clegg, president of the York Region union local, told Humber News.

Teachers will arrive no longer than 30 minutes before school starts, and not work longer than 30 minutes after school on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Parents and students should not see much of a difference, said Clegg, as teachers would be cutting down on administrative tasks and not the supervisory duties.

“There is an awful work load teachers do outside of what happens in a classroom to complete administrative tasks for the ministry and school board and those things have nothing to with what happens with students,” he added.

Listen: David Clegg tells Humber News why this job action is necessary.

The office of Ontario education minister Laurel Brotel emailed Humber News that she is disappointed to know Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario is moving forward and she will be monitoring the job action closely.

“We encourage [the federation] to keep negotiating at the local level to reach agreements rather than resort to strike action. We need all of our partners in education to work with us to find solutions that put the success and safety of our students first,” read the email.

Clegg said the next phase of job action may make a stronger difference.

“We have made it very clear that if ministry decides to intervene in the bill 115, all bets are off and I would suggest teachers take matters in their own hands and will take action and withdraw from all of the volunteer activities they do and (strain) what little good will is left in the York elementary schools,” he said.