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‘Rotating strikes’ planned at public schools

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

Rotating strikes have been planned in school districts across the province from May 26 to May 29, the B.C. Teachers' Federation said. (QMI AGENCY FILE PHOTO)

Rotating strikes have been planned in school districts across the province from May 26 to May 29, the B.C. Teachers' Federation said. (QMI AGENCY FILE PHOTO)

The union representing B.C. public school teachers is going on strike.

Beginning next Monday, about 15 school districts will be behind picket lines on each of four planned “rotating strike” days — going from May 26 to May 29 — organized by the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, according to union president Jim Iker.

“What government needs to do … is they need to bring more funding to the bargaining table,” he said.

“They need to bring a reasonable wage offer, they need to acknowledge the Supreme Court decision that supports smaller class sizes for our students, class size composition guarantees, and more specialist teachers.”

Iker said the decision comes after B.C. government said Friday it would cut wages by 5% stemming from BCTF job action so far.

“Depending on the progress, we will continue rotating strikes if necessary, but I’m hoping government will come to the table.”

Vancouver is among the first districts going behind picket lines.

B.C. Education Minister Peter Fassbender said he is “disappointed” by the announcement.

He said government had just reduced its proposed 10-year deal for teachers to six years last week, and insisted wage cuts were not a threat, but instead part of “commensurate pressures” used in bargaining.

“If you withdraw services in any union environment there is a commensurate loss of salary,” Fassbender said.

“There is no threats here.”

He said the BCTF is seeking a 20% increase over its contract term, and pointed to a recent agreement for hospital workers for 5.5% over five years, adding the BCTF must be “realistic.”

Fassbender said it would be up to each district to determine whether parents would still be able to drop off their kids at school during rotating strikes.

Teachers to rally

A rally is being organized in Surrey Wednesday evening to improve public education funding.

Surrey and Delta teacher-on-call Nicole Jarvis, who’s organizing the rally, said the rally aims to increase funding and push for equity in public education.

“Teachers’ salaries are another thing, that’s not what this is about. It’s about funding the system,” she said.

Jarvis said in her experience many public schools are divided into so-called “have” schools and “have-not” schools because of insufficient support from government.

The rally goes 3:30 p.m. on King George Boulevard between 74th and 76th Avenues.


Districts affected by rotating strike action:

May 26:

School districts — 5, 6, 28, 39 (Vancouver), 40 (New Westminster), 48, 49, 59, 62, 67, 72, 74, 75 (Mission), 78, 85, 87

May 27:

School districts — 10, 19, 20, 23, 27, 35 (Langley), 38 (Richmond), 42 (Maple Ridge), 52, 54, 63, 68, 70, 81, 83

May 28:

School districts — 34 (Abbotsford), 37 (Delta), 43 (Coquitlam), 47, 50, 51, 53, 60, 61, 69, 73, 84, 91, 92

May 29:

School districts — 8, 22, 33 (Chilliwack), 36 (Surrey), 41 (Burnaby), 44 (North Vancouver), 45 (West Vancouver), 46, 57, 58, 64, 71, 79, 82




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