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

Alberni Armada boys crowned Island wrestling champs for 19th consecutive year

Alberni wrestlers bring home hardware from Islands, prep for B.C.’s at home

City of Port Alberni sticks to three percent

City council has proposed an annual increase of three percent for residential taxpayers

B.C. BUDGET: Fare freeze, free travel for seniors on BC Ferries

A complete fare freeze will be put into place on major routes, and fares will be rolled back on smaller routes by 15 per cent

Port Alberni’s drug death rate ‘highest on Island’ says medical health officer

British Columbia entered a state of emergency in 2017 over the opioid crisis

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Two more medals push Canada into second place

A gold in ski cross and a bronze in bobsleigh as men’s hockey advances to the semis

Vancouver Island job market ever-evolving

Various sectors driving employment in region will be represented at Black Press career fair in Comox Feb. 8

Trudeau reiterates denial of Sikh separatists in cabinet, condemns extremism

“We will always stand against violent extremism, but we understand that diversity of views is one of the great strengths of Canada.”

Canada wins gold in men’s ski cross

Leman earns redemption with ski cross gold; Homan out early

Trump says more must be done to protect children

In a tweet Tuesday night, Trump indicated he wants to strengthen the background check system, but offered no specifics.

Evangelist Billy Graham has died at 99

Graham died Wednesday morning at his home in Montreat, North Carolina.

Most Read