Toronto

Education workers vote 93% in favour of strike mandate, could walk off job by month's end

A major union representing education workers in Ontario says 93 per cent its members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a potential strike that could take effect by the end of the month.

CUPE says members are concerned about recent changes to the province's education system.

The president of CUPE's bargaining unit says members are prepared to walk off the job to push back against what they see as cuts that will compromise the quality of education in Ontario's schools. (CBC)

A major union representing education workers in Ontario says its members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a potential strike that could take effect by the end of the month.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees says 93 per cent of its 55,000 members voted in favour of job action, putting them in a legal strike position as of Sept. 30.

The union says that while it intends to continue bargaining with the Ontario government and hopes to avoid a strike, its members are concerned about recent changes to the province's education system.

The measures include increases to average class sizes, shifts towards online learning models and a gradual reduction in the number of working teachers.

The changes were implemented over the past year by the Progressive Conservatives under Premier Doug Ford.

The president of CUPE's bargaining unit says members are prepared to walk off the job in order to push back against what they see as cuts that will compromise the quality of education in Ontario's schools.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said in a statement that as the school year gets going, it's important that 
parents, students and educators have predictability.

"We continue to call on all parties to reach a deal as soon as possible to provide predictability and confidence to parents, students, and educators alike. Our students deserve no less," he said.

"Our government will continue to negotiate in good faith in order to reach a deal that makes sure students remain in class. We look forward to continuing our work with all our partners."

With files from CBC News

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