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Teachers could see pay docked

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TORONTO—Ontario elementary teachers and some support staff engaging in work-to-rule campaigns soon may see their pay docked.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario and support staff with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, who do not yet have contracts, have been on administrative strikes.

The school boards have requested consent from the government to dock the pay of teachers and staff who aren’t performing their duties.

The government won’t give that permission until Nov. 1, which then would trigger five days’ notice of the impending action, Premier Kathleen Wynne said in a news conference today.

“We have not yet given that permission, however, we cannot continue to jeopardize the health, safety, and progress of our students and we need to do everything we can to motivate our partners at the table,” she stressed.

“If by Nov. 1 one of two things has not happened, then government will give permission: either tentative agreements are reached and all job actions are stopped, or all job actions are stopped and do not resume as talks continue.”

Wynne said she hopes deals can be reached by then because “eight days is a long time in the world of bargaining.”

Sam Hammond, president of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, said his members won’t respond to threats.

Bargaining was scheduled to resume this afternoon.

But while ETFO said yesterday that its members would withdraw from extra-curriculars starting Wednesday in order to pressure the government to get back to the bargaining table, Hammond said they won’t yet be backing down from the withdrawal next week.

ETFO and support staff represented by CUPE and the OSSTF have been without contracts for 14 months.

The government reached agreements with the three other teachers’ federations.

Those deals included wage increases and lump sum payments, and total payments of $2.5 million to the unions because of the lengthy negotiations.

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