On Wednesday, June 4, the B.C. Labour Relations Board upheld an employer bid to cut teacher pay by 10 per cent in response to rotating strikes and refusal to perform some duties outside classroom hours.
B.C. Teachers’ Federation president Jim Iker said Wednesday the pay cut and partial lockout of members is “a punitive action” that is unfair to teachers performing their essential classroom duties.
In response, the BCTF will hold another vote June 9-10 to authorize full-scale strike action. Rotating strikes are to continue next week while the strike vote is held and counted.
“If approved, this would likely mean a full-scale strike within the next two weeks,” Iker said Wednesday.
School District 53 announced Thursday, June 5 that the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation had announced that rotating strikes throughout the province will be extended to the week of June 9.
In School District No. 53 (Okanagan Similkameen) BCTF members will be withdrawing full services on Friday, June 13, 2014, for one day. This will be the third day of lost classes at Similkameen Elementary Secondary and Cawston Primary Schools.
The school board noted that while school facilities will remain open under the supervision of school administrators, the board will be unable to provide students with instruction or appropriate supervision during this full strike. They request that parents keep their children home on Friday, June 13. No bus service has been scheduled for Friday.
The board also advised early learning programs and evening programs that utilize school facilities may be disrupted due to picket lines. Parents should contact the program provider for confirmation.
Education Minister Peter Fassbender also promised on Thursday, June 5, that even if B.C. teachers walk out before they are locked out for the final days of the school year, final exams will be delivered and marked for graduating students.
Fassbender said the logistics of delivering and marking tests in a strike have not yet been worked out, but he committed the government to make sure they are completed.
The latest BCTF wage proposal is a total increase of 9.75 per cent over four years, plus cost-of-living adjustments in each year depending on inflation. The BCTF has estimated that with inflation, the total increase would be 12.75 per cent.
The B.C. Public School Employers’ Association, representing the province’s 60 school districts, has proposed a 7.5 per cent wage increase over six years, and recently added a $1,200 signing bonus for an agreement by the end of the school year.