Toronto

OSSTF president calls threat to dock support staff pay 'disrespectful'

​Education Minister Liz Sandals's threat to dock the pay of Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) support workers is "disrespectful" and unfair, the union's president said Tuesday.

Elliott says government should focus on 'how we can return to bargaining table'

Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation president Paul Elliott called Education Minister Liz Sandals's threat to dock the salaries of the union's support workers unfair and disrespectful at a news conference Tuesday. (CBC)

Education Minister Liz Sandals's threat to dock the pay of Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) support workers is "disrespectful" and unfair, the union's president said Tuesday.

At a news conference held at the Sheraton Hotel, Paul Elliott called Sandals's comment "direct retaliation for not bargaining," and added that a better solution would be for the government to "focus on how we can get back to the bargaining table."

OSSTF's 15,000 support staff who work in public and Catholic, French and English school boards across the province will "escalate job actions to force (the government) back to the bargaining table and work out a deal," Elliott said.

On Monday, the government reached an agreement with CUPE, but not with the OSSTF support staff members.

Sandals said those workers could now have their pay docked by up to 10 per cent. The earliest such pay cuts could take effect is next Monday, Sandals said. 

Elliott said support staff keep schools safe and clean, provide "one-on-one support for your children when they need special attention, they fix and maintain equipment that students use to supplement their learning, they keep your child's records organized, and they provide language instruction to new Canadians." 

He said the majority of the workers are women and that they are "some of the lowest paid employees in the school system in the province."

Sandals said she hopes the union and the province will reach a settlement. ​

On Oct. 23, Toronto members of the OSSTF threatened job action on November 4 if a deal was not reached with the Toronto District School Board by then.

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