Thousands of Ontario teachers, support staff ready to take on Liberals over ‘anti-collective bargaining’ bill

By John Bonnar, Published August 28, 2012 by

Ontario teachers, support staff, parents and other unionists came to Queen’s Park on Tuesday with one message for the Premier and his Education Minister: Negotiate. Don’t legislate.

Thousands came to express their anger with the government’s proposed “anti-collective bargaining” bill, a piece of legislation teachers and educational support workers called “unprecedented in its attack on bargaining rights.”

The provincial government intends to introduce legislation this week that, if passed, would result in:

– Zero per cent salary increases in 2012-13 and 2013-14.

– All teachers will take a 1.5 per cent pay cut in the form of three unpaid professional development days so that younger teachers will continue to move through the grid according to their experience and additional qualifications.

– Agreement to restructure the grid with a view to long-term, sustainable savings.

– Elimination of the current retirement gratuity for payment of unused sick days that was responsible for a $1.7 billion liability for school boards.

– A restructured short-term sick leave plan that would include up to 10 sick days. This sick leave plan would benefit younger teachers by providing income protection for serious illness and improved maternity leave provisions.

In a statement released on Monday, the government said that Bill 115, The Putting Students First Act, will save the province $2 billion.

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