College students in Ontario could be back in class by Tuesday at the earliest as the NDP’s delay tactics force emergency debate on back-to-work legislation all weekend.
Labour Minister Kevin Flynn introduced Bill 178 to end the record-long strike by 12,000 faculty affecting about 500,000 students. The back-to-work legislation came hours after Premier Kathleen Wynne failed to broker a deal to end the walkout, now the longest college strike in Ontario’s history.
Earlier that day the latest contract offer from the College Employer Council (CEC) was rejected by 86 per cent of some 12,000 striking faculty members, represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).
According to the CEC, the offer included a 7.75 per cent salary increase over four years, improved benefits — including extended pregnancy and parental leave — and measures to address concerns over part-time work.
The 16 New Democrats present refused to grant unanimous consent needed to pass the legislation immediately saying the party needs to do its “due diligence and debate” the bill. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath explained her party doesn’t support any legislation that revokes workers’ rights.
MPPs will meet starting 1 p.m. today.
If the Liberals’ legislation passes by Sunday, the CEC said all striking faculty will return on Monday for preparatory and planning sessions.
Students would be back in the classroom by Tuesday, said Don Sinclair, CEO of the CEC.
To follow updates on the strike visit Niagara College’s website at: niagaracollege.ca/
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