Ontario Premier Doug Ford will hold a media availability Tuesday morning to discuss negotiations with the education union one day after offering to rescind a bill that made their walkout illegal.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce will join the premier at 9 a.m. The news conference will be streamed live on CTVNewsToronto.ca and on the CTV News app.
- Ford’s office has confirmed the press conference has been delayed until 9:30 a.m.
Schools reopened on Tuesday after a two-day walkout by the Canadian Union of Public Employees’ (CUPE), which has roughly 55,000 members.
The protest came after negotiations with the province fell through and the government enacted Bill 28, which uses the notwithstanding clause to override the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to force a contract on the employees.
The legislation also made it illegal to strike.
Ford promised on Monday to rescind the bill if CUPE workers stop striking and return to the table.
The union accepted the offer and bargaining is expected to resume Tuesday morning.
Laura Walton, president of CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions, said yesterday the organization of members moved the government to change its mind about using the notwithstanding clause.
She added that she hopes a deal can be reached “now that this draconian legislation has been removed.”
The two parties still have to come to terms over the contentious issue of wages.
CUPE has been asking for an annual 11.7 per cent salary increase annually, but last week said their latest offer was about half of what was originally proposed.
The government, meanwhile, put an annual wage increase of 2.5 per cent for those making less than $43,000 and 1.5 per cent for all other employees on the table.
This wage increase was locked in using Bill 28 last week.
Speaking on Tuesday morning, Walton said that CUPE is going into negotiations with an “open mind and clear head.”
“My hope is that the government and the employers are doing the exact same thing.”
CUPE members have been without a collective agreement since Aug. 31.
The union is still in a legal position to strike, but will have to provide five days notice of any further job action.
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