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Durham elementary teachers staging one-day strike Thursday

ETFO president Sam Hammond joins teachers during a recent walkout. Durham teachers will take part in a one-day strike this Thursday. (ETFO Twitter photo)

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

Rotating strikes by elementary teachers will be hitting Oshawa and Durham Region this week.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has announced one-day walkouts in the Durham District School Board (DDSB) on Thursday (Jan. 30).

Elementary teachers, who have been without a contract since Aug. 31, 2019, began one-day walkouts on Monday, Jan. 20.

In a news release, ETFO president Sam Hammond criticized Education Minister Stephen Lecce for his continued suggestion teachers are striking in opposition to the province’s offer of a one per cent pay increase.

“Minister Lecce is wrong when he says our strike action is about money,” Hammond said. “Ask any ETFO educator and they will tell you that a lack of supports for children with special needs, large class sizes and the violent incidents in classrooms due to a lack of supports for students with unique learning needs are the reasons they are willing to go on strike.”

Hammond added he was “very disappointed” it has been more than a month since the two sides last had formal negotiations.

Due to the strike, DDSB has announced all elementary schools will be closed on Thursday.

This isn’t the first labour-related action in Durham Region this school year, as secondary school teachers had a one-day walkout in November.