Canada

Ottawa Catholic board teachers on the picket lines Tuesday

Catholic teachers were the ones on the picket lines Tuesday morning as a one-day strike closed all schools at the Ottawa Catholic School Board.

The walkout by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association cancelled classes for thousands of students across the province.

Education unions plan rotating strikes all week unless there is a breakthrough in contract talks with the provincial Conservative government.

Ottawa Catholic School Board teachers were setting up picket lines at a handful of schools  and the offices of MPPs and the school board Tuesday morning.

Four education unions representing more than 200,000 employees at the province’s school boards are engaging in job actions, from strikes to work slowdowns.

Public elementary teachers staged a one-day strike at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board on Monday, closing schools.

No more strikes are currently scheduled to hit Ottawa-area schools this week.

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Also on Tuesday the union representing English public high school teachers and support staff is staging a strike that closed schools in the Renfrew District School Board and several other districts across the province. That union has said it will halt further strikes until after secondary students finish first-semester exams.

At the Ottawa Catholic School Board, students are scheduled to write exams from Jan. 23 to 29. Exams won’t be affected by Tuesday’s strike, said a board spokesperson.

The union representing Catholic teachers says it is fighting against larger classes and mandatory online courses for high school students; for increased support for students with special needs; a guarantee the full-day kindergarten program will not be changed;and a cost-of-living wage increase.

The province has offered education unions a one-per-cent annual raise, which is the maximum allowed under wage-restraint legislation passed last fall for public servants.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce has criticized unions for stagings strikes, saying they only hurt students.

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