(Toronto) More than 50,000 Ontario education workers will return to work Tuesday, the union announced, after Premier Doug Ford promised to repeal a controversial law that forced them into contracts.
Leaders of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) claimed victory in their fight against the law, which includes a preemptive use of the notwithstanding clause, and called it an attack on the rights of all Canadians .
CUPE National President Mark Hancock made the announcement midday Monday, on a stage alongside dozens of union leaders, including the big four education unions, steel workers, postal workers, Unifor and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
Opposition to the special law had grown in recent days and unions used the press conference to give Doug Ford a taste of what he would have faced had he not promised Monday morning to repeal the law.
“When you attack one of us, you attack us all,” said Ontario Public Service Employees Union President JP Hornick.
“The workers, united, will shut down this province whenever we need it. »
Ford wants to be “in good faith”
Premier Doug Ford had said earlier Monday morning that he was prepared to withdraw the law that imposes a contract on education workers and prohibits them from striking, if the union agrees to end the walkout that began on Friday. , which caused the closure of many schools.
“As a sign of good faith, our government is ready to repeal the law, ready to repeal the [disposition de dérogation]but only if CUPE agrees to show a similar gesture of good faith by stopping its strike,” said the premier at a press conference.
“I desperately hope that CUPE will show the same willingness to compromise as we do today. I hope they will hear my plea to keep students in class, but that’s not something I can guarantee. »
Hundreds of thousands of students were absent from their classrooms for a second day on Monday as many schools were closed to in-person learning following the walkout.
Many school boards, including the Toronto District School Board, announced on Tuesday that they would reopen in light of the latest developments.
Mr Ford said after the CUPE press conference that he was happy the children could return to class.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the Education Workers Bill would be repealed “at the earliest opportunity”. Work in the Legislative Assembly is on hiatus this week and it is unclear whether the government will summon MPs to repeal the law.