Strike in schools: the Minister of Education does not accept the disturbances

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Strike in the schools: the Minister of Education does not accept the disturbances

Hundreds of school support workers gather outside Queen's Park in an illegal one-day strike.

< p class="e-p">The Ontario Labor Relations Board hearing was still underway on Saturday to decide whether the education workers' walkout is illegal. Meanwhile, Education Minister Stephen Lecce claimed there was “no tolerance for disruption.

While the Canadian Union of Public Employees intends to continue its strike, the Minister insisted on recalling the right of children to go to school.

In an interview with CBC News on Saturday, Stephen Lecce insists: we are fighting for their right to learn and for their parents to be able to go to work.

He adds that the government will use all the tools at its disposal to get children back to school and to bring stability to classrooms.

The Minister believes that this strike, despite our proposals for wage increases, is not fair for the children, and that is why, he explains, the government is using the law to make the walkout illegal.

At this hearing, which was still ongoing on Saturday evening, neither the Minister of Education nor his assistant deputy minister were called to testify.

Commission Chairman Bryan O'Byrne ruled that as Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce is exempt from testifying due to parliamentary privilege.

The Chairman of the Commission, on the other hand, felt that Deputy Minister Andrew Davis should be summoned because of the undoubtedly relevant evidence he has on collective bargaining between CUPE and the government. But because of the hours of delay, a lawyer for the union waived the hearing of Mr. Davis.

The Ontario Labor Relations Board set a second day of hearings on Saturday, as it had not decided the day before whether CUPE's strike was illegal.

Despite the Ford government's Bill 28 banning the walkout, union members went on strike Friday.

The question is whether the union's actions are contrary to the law as it was tabled and against the definitions given therein, explains Gilles Levasseur, professor of management and law at the University of Ottawa.

According to him, the Commission is limited in its field of action because the guidelines we have put in the law are very clear.

He considers that it will also be necessary to determine whether certain acts of disruption, for example the fact of submitting schoolwork later than expected or reducing services, should be considered as strike action under the law.

The question is to know to what extent one can derogate from the Constitution. There is no rule in the Supreme Court [which determines] how far the notwithstanding clause can go, he specifies.

“In Ontario, we have never seen that. This is not the way we manage our conflicts in Ontario. »

— Gilles Levasseur, professor of management and law at the University of Ottawa

CUPE, which represents 55,000 education support workers, including teacher assistants, janitors, librarians and administrative workers, intends to defy the government's decision.

D Elsewhere, the Ontario Federation of Labor called for action across the province on Saturday afternoon in support of education workers.

There's not enough money for them, not enough time for them, there's not enough staff, argued Ned Sharp, a teacher protesting in downtown Toronto .

We need to change this because teachers cannot work without education workers by their side, she added.

A health worker, also present in the procession, explained participating in this mobilization as a sign of solidarity with the education workers: We cannot afford to continue to live like this. We need a pay rise, she said, explaining that workers need a better quality of life for their families.

Law strike provides for fines of up to $4,000 per worker and $500,000 for the union for each day of walkout.

The strike that began on Friday has resulted in the closure of many schools across the province.

With information from The Canadian Press, CBC News, and Mirna Djukic

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