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Thousands of education workers across Ontario are preparing to go on strike Monday.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents 55,000 education workers, says it has given the legally required five day's notice to begin a strike.

The workers, including custodians, clerical workers, some early childhood educators, and some educational assistants started a work-to-rule campaign this week.

Custodians have stopped cleaning hallways and emptying garbage cans outside schools, clerical workers have stopped finding replacements for absent staff, and education workers have stopped working overtime.

The union says it is willing to return to the bargaining table to avoid a full strike.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said Tuesday that CUPE had accepted a government offer of new mediation dates so that talks could resume.

But the union refuted that, saying no dates had been offered and the parties remained too far apart to return to the table.

The strike action varies from school board to school board. In Simcoe County, CUPE represents the custodial and maintenance workers. Clerical and early childhood educators are represented by OPSEU and ETFO.

- With files from CTV Barrie