LONDON, ONT. -- Families of children in public elementary schools in our region may wish to start planning for two more school days off next week if no deal is reached by the end of January in the labour dispute between teachers and the province.

“It’s frustrating,” says Exeter parent Amy Campbell, who has children at the Avon Maitland District School Board.

“I've had to miss work to be able to be home with my kids when there was a strike and it's very frustrating because I have clients in home-care who I have to be there for, and I don't get paid.”

The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has announced a province-wide strike for next Thursday, Feb. 6.

Meanwhile, rotating single-day strikes continue into the next phase of job action with teachers in the Bluewater board going out on Monday, while teachers from Thames Valley, Avon Maitland and Lambton Kent school boards hit the picket lines on Tuesday.

London parent Amanda Delong, with children in the Thames Valley board, says she supports the teachers, but doesn’t like her children missing school.

“The short weeks kind of throw them all off their schedule and their routines. I do support the teachers though. I hope they get what they're asking for.”

Local ETFO president Craig Smith, representing Thames Valley District School Board teachers says the government has not responded to the union’s proposed revisions in the contract.

“I think there has been no significant effort on their part to get to the bargaining table."

In a statement, ETFO says education minister Stephen Lecce is avoiding contract talks.

It says such talks should include class sizes, violence in classrooms, compensation, and a number of other items.

The government has said the fight is about wages, and it wants a cap of one per cent.

ETFO is asking for two per cent - an increase in line with inflation.

“I think a lot of parents know that the short-term disruption this causes is nothing compared to what's coming down the line for their kids now and in the future if the government continues to cut public education,” adds Smith.

The full list of boards and the dates they are affected are as follows:

  • Feb. 3: Bluewater, Grand Erie, Halton, Ontario North East, Renfrew County, Superior Greenstone and Trillium Lakelands
  • Feb. 4: Avon Maitland, Durham, Durham Catholic, Hastings-Prince Edward, Lambton Kent, Peel, Rainbow, Thames Valley, Upper Grand and Campbell Children’s School Authority
  • Feb. 5: Kawartha Pine Ridge, Keewatin-Patricia, Lakehead, Near North, Ottawa-Carleton, Penetanguishene Protestant Separate, Rainy River, Simcoe County, Upper Canada and Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre
  • Feb. 6: One-day strike of all members
  • Feb. 7: Algoma, Greater Essex County, Hamilton-Wentworth, Limestone, Niagara, Toronto, Toronto Catholic, Waterloo, York Region and Bloorview, John McGivney Children’s Centre, KidsAbility, Moosonee, Moose Factory and Niagara Peninsula Children’s Centre school authorities

ETFO represents a total of 83,000 teachers across Ontario.