B.C. teachers begin job action
British Columbia Teachers Federation (BCTF) president Jim Iker speaks at press conference in Vancouver, B.C. on Monday January 27, 2014. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
Teachers across B.C. begin “stage one” of their job action on Wednesday as bargaining continues between the union and government.
The B.C. Teachers’ Federation says this means instructors won’t be watching kids at recess, administrative memos won’t be read out, and teachers won’t be doing too much extra time.
Teachers are expected to continue to teach, write report cards, speak with parents and support extracurricular activities.
“It’s purposely not that disruptive. We’re hoping it will be effective,” said Jim Iker, BCTF president.
He said stage two would mean “rotating strikes” at schools across B.C. — meaning schools may be shut down one day per week.
Stage three, if it gets to that, would require another vote from BCTF members and result in full-scale strikes.
Vancouver school trustee Ken Denike said this first stage is worrying since there are some parents who drop off students early and pick them up late.
Under BCTF’s plan, teachers won’t show up more than an hour early and would leave school no later than an hour after the day ends.
“There are some that currently come earlier than that,” Denike said.
He said some school districts are now looking at cancelling recess. Vancouver’s administrators are in meetings to discuss how they would answer the job action, but communicating with parents would be tough.
“The whole matter of doing this disrupts things,” Denike said. “They said this will go on until they see, at the bargaining table, there’s some results.”
The BCTF said government has continued to ignore a B.C. Supreme Court ruling on class sizes, composition and staffing levels. It also said the province’s proposal for 10-year contract terms — which include two years of zero-salary increases — are unreasonable.