Strike today, Lecce calls for private mediation

Toronto: Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce yesterday reissued his call for “private  mediation” even as some 155,000 teachers go on strike today after failure of talks with the government and district school boards.

As announced on February 7, teachers and education workers represented by three teachers’ unions (OSSTF, AEFO and ETFO) will stage a one-day walkout on Thursday, February 13, in select school boards across the province.

“Our focus is on keeping students in class, as they deserve better. That is why I am calling on the teachers’ union leaders to accept private mediation today and end this needless escalation,” said Lecce in a statement to the media.

He said parents are losing patience with the disruption in their lives, the inconsistency in their children’s education, and the financial impact of scrambling for child care.

“While union leaders are organizing further disruption, our government remains focused on getting deals at the bargaining table through private mediation. We’ve made very significant moves on our position, but union leadership hasn’t moved on substantial items – like their already generous benefits packages and maintaining hiring based on seniority rather than on merit. Parents and students deserve no less,” he added.

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