UPDATE: Union, Ontario government resume bargaining to head off school strike

Classroom

The Ontario government and a union that represents thousands of education workers resumed talks Friday to head off a looming strike at the province's schools.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees has said its 55,000 members plan to walk off the job on Monday after holding a work-to-rule campaign this past week.

Several Ontario school boards, including the three largest, have said they will have to close schools if the labour disruption goes ahead.

They say the closures are necessary to ensure student safety, which they say would be compromised without CUPE workers on site.

Contracts for all of the province's public school employees expired at the end of August, and the Progressive Conservative government has been in tense labour negotiations with several unions.

CUPE and the provincial body representing school boards resumed mediated talks Friday afternoon, under a news blackout.  But CUPE confirmed Friday evening that talks were continuing.