Within the Bluewater District School Board (BWDSB), members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) all hit the picket line on Wednesday, January 15th. It was the fifth one-day walkout in what is turning out to be a long drawn-out standoff against the Ford government’s changes to education.
At Saugeen District Senior School (SDSS) in Port Elgin (Saugeen Shores), local teachers were joined by others from Peninsula Shores District School in Wiarton and Bruce Peninsula School in Lions Head on the Bruce Peninsula.
President of Bluewater District 7 of OSSTF Betty-Jo Radden was also at SDSS before heading off to Owen Sound to take part in the demonstration outside the office of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker. In a prior interview, she said that, “We are opposed to the government’s class sizes and cuts to teachers. We have lost 20 secondary teachers in the Bluewater Board and our class ratio is moving from 22 students to one teacher to 25 students, a 25 per cent increase.”
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On the picket line at SDSS
While the Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, has said that the main topic halting negotiations is compensation, Radden says it is not about teachers wanting more money but is simply wanting to keep up with the cost of living, along with those other issues including increased class sizes and mandatory e-learning courses for secondary school students.
Today, the English Catholic school system and Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) have also given their required five-day notice for a one-day strike action next Tuesday, January 21st, the first in what is expected to be a series of rotating strikes.
In addition, Ontario’s French language teachers will also now be initiating work-to-rule on Thursday, January 16th, which means that all major teachers’ unions have now entered into ‘job actions’ that include – not planning or participating in any assemblies, except to provide supervision to students; not participating in extra-curricular activities except those that fall within the regular school day; not participating in field trips; not arriving at work any earlier than 30 minutes before the start of the instructional day and not remaining later than 15 minutes at the end of the day.