Minister 'disappointed' at teachers
B.C. Education Minister Peter Fassbender said he was ‘disappointed’ by the B.C. Teachers' Federation announcement of a strike vote next week. Michael Mui, 24 hours
B.C. Education Minister Peter Fassbender pleaded for teachers to take down picket lines and return to bargaining Thursday after the B.C. Teachers’ Federation announced a vote on a full strike would take place next week.
Fassbender said he recognizes teachers have recently made a compromise in negotiations to reduce their wage demand by 1% — but it’s not enough.
“That is still four times greater than any public sector agreement we’ve had, but at least it shows some movement,” he said.
On Wednesday, the B.C. Labour Relations Board decided that government can legally cut teachers’ wages in response to job action.
In response, teachers’ union president Jim Iker announced rotating walkouts would continue next week.
“It’s time to exert the maximum pressure possible,” Iker said.
A strike vote is expected to take place Monday and Tuesday to determine whether teachers would withdraw all services.
“If approved, this will most likely mean a full-scale strike within the next two weeks.”
Fassbender did not announce any escalation of punitive measures or legislative action from government Thursday.
He said he has directed staff to ensure graduations and exams would not be affected by the job action or government-directed lockouts.
“We’ve had a cycle for decades in this province of labour disruption and then legislation and then court challenges, and we really need to change that cycle,” he said.