Chanting “Kill the Bill,” hundreds of high school students in Ottawa walked out of class and headed over to Dalton McGuinty’s constituency office to protest Bill 115. The bill, passed on September 11 by Mcguinty’s Liberals with the support of the Tories, is a massive attack on public school teachers’ collective bargaining rights in the name of austerity.
Even before teachers had a chance to bargain, McGuinty imposed a contract taking away half their sick days, forcing them to accept three unpaid days and a wage freeze, and taking away the right to strike.
What is most disconcerting about this legislation is that it hands decision-making power over any issue to the Minister of Education. Teachers will be stripped of any say in their own workplaces if it does not line up with what the government wants.
Teachers have responded by withdrawing their volunteer labour from extracurricular activities, and students have responded with walkout across the province in solidarity with their teachers.
The draconian nature and scope of this bill exposes McGuinty’s main goal, busting the unions of public sector workers. Taking away basic rights doesn’t save money but is designed to intimidate and harass workers. We are seeing this anti-worker, union bashing agenda at all levels of government and from coast to coast and around the world.
There are a series of rallies to challenge Bill 115, starting today–Friday Sept 21 at 4pm at Glen Murray’s office (514 Parliament St, Toronto). For more information visit campaignforpubliceducation.ca