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Strike at Ontario schools to go ahead as mediator calls off contract negotiations

Education workers across Ontario will be on strike tomorrow.

The mediator has called off negotiations between the union representing 55,000 educational workers and the province saying both sides are too far apart on an agreement.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce says the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), by not backing down on its threat of job action, has forced the government to pass legislation that imposes a four-year contract on the members.

It also uses the notwithstanding clause which prohibits any strike action or any further wage negotiations. Lecce says with the passage of the bill Friday’s strike will be illegal and the government will use “every tool in its toolbox” to ensure there is little disruption to students.

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In a statement, CUPE’s collective bargaining committee says it is clear the government never intended to negotiate, “The time and effort they have spent on Bill 28, which strips away education workers’ Charter Rights, should have been spent on a deal that would have respected workers and ensured the services that students desperately need are secured.”

CUPE says the strike will begin Friday and will continue for as long as necessary until a negotiated collective agreement is reached.

***With files from Wendy Gray

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