POLITICS

Ontario Elementary Teachers Say They Weren't Offered Same Conditions As High School Teachers

09/21/2015 01:06 EDT | Updated 09/21/2016 05:12 EDT
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Teacher pointing to raised hands in classroom
TORONTO — The union representing Ontario's public elementary teachers says it has not been given the same contract offer as their colleagues in high schools and the Catholic system.

The Elementary Teachers Federation is stepping up its work-to-rule campaign today and threatening to move to one-day rotating strikes if it doesn't have a tentative agreement within two weeks.

ETFO president Sam Hammond says the government has not offered elementary teachers the same conditions as their high school colleagues.

Hammond says there's a "significant disparity" in how the two levels of schools are funded, which he insists leads to larger class sizes, fewer student supports and poorer working conditions in elementary schools.

Talks with the elementary teachers' union broke off over a week ago and Hammond says the only way to get a fair deal is to return to bargaining.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association last week ratified deals that contained raises of 1.5 per cent plus another one-per-cent bonus.

The union representing teachers in Francophone schools have also reached a tentative agreement, leaving ETFO as the only teachers' union without a contract.

"If the Liberal government had stayed at the table and not walked away, it's possible we could have reached a deal by now, and the escalation of ETFO's work-to-rule could have been avoided," Hammond said in a release.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is also trying to negotiate a new contract for 50,000 non-teaching staff in Ontario schools.

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