QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario public high school teachers and support staff will not take part in strike action but will cease all extra curricular activities beginning Dec. 10.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation said Monday that its 60,000 members will step up their protest against legislation that freezes most of their wages by showing up for work 15 minutes before classes and leaving immediately after their scheduled duties at the end of the day.

“OSSTF at this point is not prepared to take any full withdrawal of services, so we will not be participating in any of these rotating strikes,” union president Ken Coran said.

“We’re there for the students. We’re trying to do our best. But we’re also fighting for our members, we’re fighting for democracy,” he said.

The union has always said it would accept a wage freeze, but feels Bill 115 erodes the teachers’ democratic rights for collective bargaining, added Coran.

Later Monday evening, teachers and their supporters gathered for a rally outside Toronto District School Board headquarters.

Earlier Monday, Education Minister Laurel Broten slammed teachers’ union leaders, saying they seemed set on strike action.

“This has been and will continue to be about the refusal of union leadership  not our teachers  to accept a real pay freeze,” she said.

“The teacher-union leadership has turned its back on cooperation.”

“I say to them, ‘if you want a fight instead of a fix, then take your fight to the courts, but keep the kids out of it.’”

“I am asking the union leadership to choose improvements for the kids over improvements for themselves.”

The union has promised to give 72 hours notice of any strike action, but the Liberals’ Bill 115 gives Broten the permission to put an end to any strike very quickly.

“Our first choice would be to see negotiated agreements and to see our unions participate in that process,” Broten said.

Broten has threatened to use the tools embedded in Bill 115 the controversial legislation passed on Sept. 11 that imposed a two-year contract on educators to restrict strike action. Bill 115, also called the Putting Students First Act, prohibits strikes or lockouts, freezes teachers’ wages for two years and halves their sick days.

Teachers in York Region are currently in legal strike position. Toronto teachers will be in strike position on Dec. 10.

Elementary teachers in Guelph and Niagara are the latest to step-up job action they’re starting administrative and extra curricular sanctions Monday.