Ontario education workers accept labour contract with province

FILE PHOTO: A teacher walks the divided hallways at Hunter's Glen Junior Public School in Scarborough

By Anna Mehler Paperny

TORONTO (Reuters) -Education workers in Ontario, Canada's most populous province, have voted to accept a labour deal with the provincial government, union representatives said Monday.

The vote comes after about 55,000 education workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - a group including education assistants and library workers - called off a strike on Nov. 7 after two days when Ontario's government said it would rescind a law imposing a contract and using a legal clause to override workers' right to strike.

The provincial government "thought we'd roll over, we'd suck it up and we'd accept less than we were worth," CUPE Ontario School Board Council of Unions President Laura Walton told reporters.

More than 40,000 of the union's members voted, she said, with 73% voting in favour of the agreement. The educators were demanding better pay and more frontline staff in schools.

Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce said in a tweet the deal was "a great outcome that keeps kids learning in class."

"We are so pleased we've been able to reach an agreement that has been overwhelmingly ratified by the members that keeps kids in classrooms and preserves the learning experience."

(Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Alexander Smith)