Ontario NDP blocks back-to-work bill aimed at ending college strike

19 November, 2017, 02:46 | Author: Katrina Soto
  • Ontario College Strike Continues As Faculty Unanimously Votes

But the NDP blocked a government attempt to table the bill after the normally scheduled time period for introducing legislation this evening.

The move has the government looking at a rare weekend sitting of the legislature to get the legislation passed, but whether it will succeed in getting classes resumed on Monday is far from clear.

Friday's vote came after a frenzied day on Thursday where the Premier stepped forward and met with the colleges and union, asking both sides to return to the bargaining table only hours after striking faculty rejected an offer made by the colleges.

The strike, which involves college professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians, began October 15 and has left some 500,000 students out of class.

The union called on the colleges to return to the bargaining table Thursday afternoon.

The union that represents 12,000 faculty across Ontario says colleges are relying too heavily on contract employees to save money and wants to see more full-time teachers hired across the system.

"I'll be happy to go back to work next week, for sure", he said.

Hu Zhengtao, an global student from China attending George Brown College to study business and marketing, said the labour disruption has thrown his plans to graduate in December and return home into serious doubt.

Bernie Nawrocki, the President of OPSEU local 138 at St. Clair College, maintains the best deal is a bartered deal. "The students have had to go through an very bad lot these last five weeks as Kathleen Wynne sat on her hands and did nothing to address this strike", she said.

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"Given the length of the strike, we've advised students that the holiday break will run from the end of the day December 22, 2017 up to and including Wednesday".

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union had urged members to vote no.

"For five weeks, students were left wondering how they could afford to pay for their education". She said she's unsure how the strike will affect their semester.

Advanced Education Minister and Deputy Premier Deb Matthews told the House that the NDP was unnecessarily delaying students' return to the classroom.

"I don't care how we get back in class".

The provincial government has ordered the colleges to create a fund - using savings from the strike - to help students who may be experiencing financial hardship because of the labour dispute.

Matthews also said that the semester can be salvaged.

"The colleges bargaining team has not received any request from the provincially appointed mediator about bargaining this weekend", he said in a written statement.

Vanessa Sampson is a mother of three trying to weather the uncertainty, and while she has her personal support worker diploma to fall back on, she's not working right now because she had meant to focus on school full-time.



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