School isn’t quite out for the summer but schools in Golden were closed on Monday for the first day of rotating teacher strikes across the province.
The strike comes less than a week after the B.C. Teachers’ Federation rejected the government’s latest six year proposal. The six year term of the proposal (and the inclusion of a $1,200 signing bonus) was a positive step from the BCTF’s perspective, but the offer wasn’t good enough to avoid a strike.
“They keep coming to the table without any changes to class size and composition and they haven’t really come forward with a salary proposal that is equivalent to what other public sector unions are getting,” said Mike Archibald, president of the Golden Teacher’s Association.
According to B.C. Minister of Education Peter Fassbender, it is the parents and students who are the real victims of the labour dispute.
“Parents and students don’t deserve this disruption. We should be resolving this dispute at the negotiating table, not in the classroom or on the picket line,” Fassbender said in a statement.
The government’s plan to cut teacher’s wages by 5 per cent or more during strike action was seen as “disrespectful” by BCTF president Jim Iker.
The BCTF says that rotating strikes could continue next week if the B.C. government doesn’t put more money on the table.