Elementary schools in Avon Maitland closed by protests
Published Monday, December 10, 2012 10:15AM EST
Last Updated Monday, December 10, 2012 8:51PM EST
Tensions between teachers and the Ontario government are set to escalate today as elementary teachers begin a wave of one-day walkouts while their high school counterparts cut out extra-curricular activities.
The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario says the Avon Maitland and Ontario North East boards will be hit with job action today.
The teaching shutdown then moves tomorrow to boards in Niagara and Keewatin-Patricia in the province's northwest, while Ottawa-Carleton, Lakehead and Hastings-Prince Edward boards are targeted with a walkout Wednesday.
Three more boards gave notice this morning they will take part in one-day strikes later this week.
Teachers with the York Region, Trillium Lakelands and Renfrew boards say they will walk off the job Thursday.
The union says the walkouts are in protest of legislation that gives the government the power to stop strikes and impose collective agreements -- measures the union says impede local bargaining.
"(Education Minister Laurel Broten) has single-handedly damaged a local bargaining process that has worked for the education sector for decades," David Clegg, president of the York Region local, said in a statement.
"By removing our local autonomy, she has left us no option but to take strike action," he added.
Meanwhile, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation says its members will as of today withdraw from all non-classroom work, including extra-curricular sports and events such as holiday concerts.
Premier Dalton McGuinty has said the government won't stop the planned walkouts since they are only for one day and the elementary teachers' union has promised to give 72-hours notice.
Broten said the government has drawn up legal documents to stop any strikes that stretch beyond a single school day.