Student union presidents from eight schools have called on Queen’s Park to force college and union representatives to get back to the bargaining table to end a labour strike that has cancelled classes at 24 public colleges and one university since Oct 16.
The strike launched last Monday when the College Employer’s Union and Ontario Public Sector Employees Union could not come to a deal before the deadline at 12:01 am.
In a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne and several Members of Provincial Parliament, the student leaders request that Ontario get the two sides to the bargaining table to end the dispute that has affected some 500,000 full- and part-time students across the province.
“We shouldn’t be a bargaining chip in this,” Fanshawe College student president Marganna Sampson said on Friday quoted by CBC News.
Sampson said those signing the letter are not taking sides in the strike but want both parties to find a solution to the problem.
“We’re not here to criticize or judge r to overstep in anyway, we are just representing our students and we want what’s best for them in the long run,” she said.
Ignite’s neutrality questioned
Student leadership from Humber, which also represents Guelph-Humber under Ignite, as well as leaders at Seneca, St. Clair, Mohawk, Niagara, Sheridan, Confederation and Fanshawe college’s have signed the letter.
However, many students have given their full support to the teachers walking the picket lines, contrasting their own student presidents’ claimed neutrality.
In the comment section of the official Ignite response to the strike posted on Facebook, Humber Lakeshore student Paula Greenberg asked this: “Does IGNITE have any plans to show solidarity for the faculty? Other institutions’ students are having rallies to support their striking faculty.”
Ignite President Maja Jocson responded saying that Ignite was holding a “neutral position for this issue” as they understand the views of both parties.
More details to follow. Image of Queen’s Park from the Toronto Star. Correction: Shipley was not “disappointed”, but “surprised”.