It was back to classes for Port Alberni teachers on Thursday but what’s in store next week and thereafter isn’t known yet, Alberni District Teachers Union president Ken Zydyk said.
More than 50 teachers from Port Alberni joined approximately 8,000 others for a rally at the B.C. Legislature building in Victoria on Tuesday.
“We were unified and together and it was a successful event,” Zydyk said. “We’ve sounded the alarm about the far reaching effects of Bill 22.”
A contingent of teachers also stayed in Alberni to man information lines outside of schools. Things were consistent throughout the three-day strike, Zydyk said.
“We’re receiving a lot of support from the public.”
Members of the Hospital Employees Union joined teachers on their information line in a show of solidarity, Zydyk added. “Bill 22 isn’t just an action against teachers, it’s an action against all workers.”
Local unions participated in a rally at the Steelworkers Hall on Montrose Street on Wednesday.
Wages remain an issue at the provincial bargaining table, but aren’t as onerous as is being made out, Zydyk said.
“A cost of living increase is important in the Lower Mainland, which has just been named one of the most expensive places to live,” he said.
Alberni teachers didn’t walk off the job because of wages, he said. “It’s because of the damage the legislation has on classrooms and learning conditions.”
Wednesday represented the last day of strike action teachers were entitled to under last week’s Labour Relations Board ruling. They are entitled to withdraw services for one day per week starting next week. But the options are still being considered in that regard.
“We’re returning to work on Thursday and Friday, that’s the current plan,” Zydyk said.
Teachers haven’t decided yet what day of the week next week they’ll be walking out. The LRB ruling requires them to give 48 hours’ notice.
“Things are changing by the hour and I don’t want to say something that’s still not the case.”