B.C. teachers escalate job action

Rotating strikes will begin May 26
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 05/21/2014

The British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) will launch rotating strikes on Monday, May 26.

The union said the upcoming strikes are the result of “the unwillingness of the provincial government and the BC Public School Employers’ Association to offer any improvements to class size, class composition, and other important learning conditions for students.” The BCTF also cited the employer’s unfair wage demands as contributing to the labour action.

The strikes will begin in Vancouver and 15 other school districts on May 26, and will continue May 27, 28, and 29. All school districts will be impacted on one of those days, and the union said any extension of the rotating job action will depend on events at the bargaining table. The rotating closures are part of a two-stage strike plan voted on by teachers in March. The move to rotating strikes comes after low-level job action failed to promote meaningful progress in negotiations.

“Hope that this government would start negotiating in good faith faded when the employer announced a series of threats around wage rollbacks, lockouts, and attempts to divide teachers, parents, and students,” said BCTF president Jim Iker.

The union reports provincial education funding falls $1,000 per student less than the national average. In a statement announcing the strike action, BCTF called on the government to make education a funding priority.

“Teachers remain committed to reaching a fair deal at the negotiating table that respects our work and provides better support for our students,” Iker said. “If this government is serious about labour peace they should offer teachers a fair deal and show some good faith. We will remain at the bargaining table.”

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