BCTF strike action starts Wednesday

Work-to-rule won't affect report cards or parent meetings, but teachers will restrict hours and refuse out-of-class supervision

B.C. Teachers' Federation president Jim Iker

VICTORIA – After rejecting an offer from the school district bargaining agency for a long-term contract, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation has served notice it will begin work-to-rule action April 23.

BCTF president Jim Iker announced Thursday that 72-hour notice has been given, after union members voted 89 per cent in March to endorse a three-stage strike plan. Phase one includes refusing communication with school managers, arriving no more than an hour before and leaving an hour after school hours, and refusing supervision of students outside class time.

It does not affect pre-arranged voluntary activities such as coaching, but the refusal of supervision requires essential service levels that compel some teachers to assure the safety of students while they are out of classes. Report card preparation and parent meetings will continue.

Iker said progress at the bargaining table will determine how long phase one action would last.

Phase two of the BCTF plan is rotating one-day walkouts in districts around the province. Phase three, a full-scale strike, would require a second vote by members to authorize.

The BCTF has rejected the government’s offer for a 10-year agreement with pay increases totalling 6.5% over the first six years and additional wage increases to be negotiated for the final four years.

There has been little change to the “lowball offer” on wages and no movement on the long-running dispute over class size limits and special needs support, Iker said.

BCTF negotiators countered with a three-year proposal with three per cent plus a cost-of-living increase in each year. With compounding and current estimates of inflation, BCPSEA calculates that could amount to 13.5 per cent over three years.

Iker said school districts are cutting staff and programs due to ministry budget cuts, and the ministry should at least cover school districts’ costs for increase medical services plan premiums and BC Hydro rate increases.

The education ministry says per-pupil funding has increased 38 per cent since 2001, and the ministry has provided $225 million over three years to hire 500 teachers and 400 new special education assistants for the 2012-13 school year.

Peter Cameron, chief negotiator for B.C.’s 60 school districts, said once stage one strike action begins, the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association will seek an order that the union pay for its extended benefits during any withdrawal of service. That would cost about $5 million a month for 41,000 public school teachers.

“In order that there is in fact pressure on both sides, BCPSEA needs to respond to any phase one activities with measures that put corresponding pressure on the union,” Cameron wrote in a letter to Iker.

 

Just Posted

15 new mayors to take office across the Kootenays

Here’s a look at the highlights from across the Kootenay region in B.C.

Mayoral results from across B.C.

Voters in 162 municipalities in B.C. set to elect mayor, council, school board and more

Every vote counts: 10 tightest races in B.C.’s municipal elections

Peachland saw their election decided by just one vote

Why municipal elections are important

Voting helps shape our community

Director happy with referendum results

Columbia Shuswap Regional District Area A residents voted in favour of the… Continue reading

Federal carbon tax rebates will exceed the cost for most people affected

Officials say 70 per cent of people in those provinces will get back more than they end up paying out as fuel costs rise to incorporate the carbon tax.

Vancouver Canucks’ Elias Pettersson ‘feeling good’ after concussion

Rookie is back practising after being sidelined by Florida defenceman Mike Matheson

UPDATED: 34 rescued off whale watching boat in Georgia Strait

Tour company says vessel experienced some kind of mechanical issue

Pipeline opponents blast Trans Mountain re-approval plan

Environmental advocates, First Nations leaders say NEB review has same flaws as it had before

Opioid crisis may be shortening British Columbians’ life expectancy: report

Canada among healthiest wealthy countries, but 8,000 overdose deaths since 2016 are causing concern

B.C. cold case helps ‘60 Minutes’ explain genetic genealogy

An arrest in the 1987 double-murder of two people from Victoria was one of three examples highlighted in a segment you can watch here

Delivery of cannabis could be impacted by postal strike

BC Liquor Distribution Branch look at alternative third-party delivery services

Around the BCHL: Chilliwack Chiefs snag spot in CJHL national rankings

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the BCHL and the junior A world.

Rural regions get priority for B.C. referendum mail-out

Ballot security measures aim to protect against voter fraud

Most Read