Teachers and students head back to school on Six Nations

After a two-week strike, teachers and students are back in school on Six Nations.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) announced a tentative deal on Sunday night, ending a two-week strike that saw over 200,000 workers across the country walk off the job, including some Six Nations workers and schoolteachers.

About 120,000 of those employees are back to work as of Tuesday (yesterday).

The union representing those employees had asked for a 13 percent increase in wages over the next three years but the government had refused, offering nine percent instead.

Since Six Nations schools are federally-funded, teachers make up part of the 200,000 workers who went on strike for the past two weeks.

As of press time, Canada Revenue Agency workers were still on strike.

The strike put Six Nations students out of school for two weeks, which Six Nations teacher Laurie Green told CBC news she hoped wouldn’t put them further behind than the pandemic already did.

Green teaches the Mohawk language for grades five to eight at Oliver M. Smith Kawennio (OMSK) elementary.

Students and teachers returned to school on Tuesday.

Other issues at stake for the union included job security and remote work.

Ohsweken Public Health was also affected by the strike, as they are employed by Health Canada, but nurses stayed on board as they were considered essential workers.

Teachers and students at Tynedinaga First Nation were also out of school during the strike, as it’s the only other First Nation other than Six Nations that is federally-funded with PSAC employees.

The agreement not only boosts salaries for teachers, but teacher’s assistants, as well.

The increase in wages will cost the federal government about $1.3 billion per year.

The strike impacted more than 1,100 Six Nations students and their families.

Maintenance staff can exercise their right to strike, which may affect the maintenance at Ohsweken Public Health.

The tentative agreement lasts until 2024.


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