B.C. teachers should cover strike costs: Employers

Application to labour board requests teachers also complete report cards
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 10/27/2011

The BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) is asking the B.C. Labour Relations Board to rule that the union representing the province’s teachers turn over 15 per cent of their pay and benefits to pay for strike costs.

About 41,000 British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) members have been without a contract since June 30, 2011 and voted 90 per cent in favour of a strike mandate in July 2011.

“Teachers have withdrawn their services, but continue to receive their full salary and benefits,” reads the application to the board, submitted earlier this week. “BCTF members have engaged in strike action to apply pressure on the employer, yet suffer no reduction in their salary.”

The proposal is also seeking to require teachers to write report cards, which is a reversal of the BCPSEA’s earlier position that the task was not essential. The employers’ association now says that school report cards are needed, especially when it comes to the future of struggling students.

“If the BCTF elected to direct its members to prepare and issue report cards, then BCPSEA might well not seek reimbursement of a percentage of salary and benefit costs,” the application says.

While the teacher’s federation hasn’t provided an official statement on the proposal, BCTF president Susan Lambert told the Globe and Mail that she questions the amount of money be requested from the teachers.

“They have not hired any additional staff to do any of the work we are not doing, so how would you determine the value of that work?” Lambert told the paper. “And, in fact, nobody is leaving school early. Teachers are spending the time in classrooms with kids.”

A ruling on the applications isn’t expected until November.

Both parties continue to bargain for a new contract, but admit that little progress has been made.

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