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Thames Valley elementary teachers to strike on Wednesday

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario gave strike notice to the Thames Valley board Friday afternoon, saying if there's no progress in negotiations, there will be a full withdrawal of services on Wednesday, Jan. 22.

If progress isn't made at the negotiating table, teachers will walk off the job for one day

Several education unions in Ontario have already launched various job actions, including two one-day strikes by public high school teachers and a work-to-rule campaign by public elementary school teachers. (Paul Smith/CBC)

Elementary teachers with the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) will likely be hitting the picket line on Wednesday if progress isn't made at the bargaining table.

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) gave strike notice to the TVDSB Friday afternoon, stating there will be a full withdrawal of services on Wednesday, Jan. 22.

"In the 28 days since our last bargaining session on Dec. 19, 2019, the Ford government and (Education) Minister (Steven) Lecce have had ample time to return to contract talks with ETFO and they have chosen not to do so," said ETFO President Sam Hammond in a statement.

"We have no choice but to commence rotating strikes starting this Monday as our only means of forcing the government to get serious about negotiations and the future of public education."

All extra-curriculars cancelled

In a letter to parents and guardians, the Thames Valley board said because of the strike, they will have to close all elementary schools as there won't be sufficient supervision to ensure student safety.

"All out-of-school activities (e.g. field trips, sports, etc.) will be cancelled. As a result, parents/guardians should begin making alternate arrangements for their children," read the letter.

Parents whose children are registered in before- and after-school child care are being asked to contact their child care operator to see if full-day care is available. Child care centres located in TVDSB schools will remain open to families already registered.

Teachers are expected to return to work on Thursday.

ETFO members ramped up their work-to-rule action this week, by refusing to supervise extra-curricular activities unless they are during the regular school day and cancelling field trips.

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