All schools in Clarington and the rest of Durham set to close if deal isn’t reached

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Published November 17, 2022 at 11:16 am

The Durham District School Board and the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland Clarington School Board have issued news releases to make it official: if there is no agreement reached in the education workers impasse, the workers will go on strike and all schools in Durham will be closed.

“As we cannot safely operate schools without CUPE staff, should a strike commence, all schools in the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington (PVNC) Catholic District School Board will be closed to in-person learning on Monday, November 21 and until further notice, and all students will transition to remote learning from home,” read the statement from the PVNC board, which represents Catholic students in Clarington. “Classroom teachers will transition on Monday to synchronous learning.”

The Durham public board issued a press release in a similar vein. “Parents/guardians should be prepared that schools may be closed starting on Monday for an indefinite period. We recognize how disruptive it is to all members of families when schools are closed. However, we are not able to operate sites safely without CUPE-represented employees at work. “

The statements followed reports from the Durham District Catholic School board and the Kawartha Pine Ridge School Board.

All four boards expressed hope that negotiations would continue and a deal could be reached before Monday, though that possibility took a hit when talks between the two sides broke down Thursday.

CUPE, which represents 55,000 education workers across the province gave a five-day strike notice on Wednesday after bargaining failed, and workers are set to walk off en masse on Monday if a deal isn’t reached.

The workers walked off the job for two days earlier this month after the province enacted legislation that imposed a contract on them and took away their right to strike. The government then promised to repeal the legislation and the workers retuned to their jobs as bargaining resumed.

CUPE said the two sides recently agreed on a 3.59 per cent wage increase, but the union is still fighting for higher staffing levels for educational assistants, librarians, custodians, secretaries and early childhood educators.

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