Rotating school strikes start Monday

Teachers in the Fraser Cascade School District will be behind picket lines on May 26

Schools in the Fraser-Cascade school district will be closed on Monday as part of escalated job action by teachers.

The B.C. Teacher’s Federation announced Tuesday it would start one-day rotating strikes at schools around the province, rejecting the offer of a $1,200 signing bonus for an agreement by the end of the school year.

BCTF president Jim Iker said Tuesday the bonus doesn’t make up for the government’s wage offer of 6.5 per cent over six years. A simultaneous plan to cut teacher wages five per cent or more because of strike action is “just so disrespectful, so unnecessary, and we’ll be dealing with it at the Labour Relations Board,” Iker said.

Unless there is some compromise on major issues, one-day strikes with picket lines will be staged in school districts next week, with teachers returning to work across the province on Friday, May 30.

While school facilities in the Fraser-Cascade will remain open under the supervision of school district administration, superintendent Dr. Karen Nelson said they will not be able to provide students with instruction or appropriate supervision. Buses will also not be running and StrongStart Centres will be closed on May 26.

Lynne Marvell, president of the Fraser-Cascade Teachers’ Association, said the second stage of strike action is not something teachers want to do. However, after 16 months at the bargaining table, they are “still a long way from a fair deal.”

Marvell said the province and BC Public School Employers’ Association still refuse to offer any improvements to class size, class composition, and other important learning conditions for students. She also pointed out that B.C.’s per student funding is $1,000 less than the national average.

“Last week we were hopeful when we saw the government and BCPSEA put out an olive branch by backing off the unrealistic 10-year term,” said Marvell. “But then the employer announced a series of threats around wage rollbacks, lockouts, and attempts to divide teachers, parents, and students. We care deeply about our students, and many of us are parents too. We empathize with parents who have to re-work their schedules, and that is why we have taken the unusual step of giving between six and ten days’ notice in advance.”

Education Minister Peter Fassbender said the signing bonus and reducing the contract term from 10 years to six were significant efforts to move toward a settlement.

“Unfortunately the announcement says that the BCTF feels that disrupting classrooms, affecting children and their families is going to help to reach a settlement,” Fassbender told reporters in Vancouver.

Peter Cameron, chief negotiator for the province’s 60 school districts, informed the union last week that a five per cent pay cut will be put in place “soon” in response to the first phase of strike action. The BCTF began work-to-rule action in April, refusing supervision outside classrooms and communication with school management. Rotating strikes were also authorized by the BCTF membership in a March vote, and beginning to shut down schools could result in an effort to cut teacher pay by 10 per cent.

– with files from Tom Fletcher

Just Posted

Highest earning staff at Fraser-Cascade School District made public

Also board looks into seat belts on school buses, Marv Cope gets road in his memory

Oscar-winning producer J. Miles Dale on filming horror-thriller in Hope

In an exclusive interview, Dale explains why the town plays a large role in Antlers

Tarl rocks Silver Chalice Saturday

After spending summers in Hope visiting his grandmother, musician Tarl returns to… Continue reading

WATCH: Brother of missing Hope woman makes emotional appeal for more media attention

Next search for Shawnee Inyallie Nov. 18 along Highway 1 towards Boston Bar

Gas price drop expected to hit Fraser Valley today

Analyst says to take advantage, warns slight increase may follow

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

UPDATE: Hells Angels on scene after body found in Maple Ridge

Body was discovered beneath the Golden Ears Bridge

Mountie left with ‘significant’ injuries after driver attempts to flee traffic stop

Richmond RCMP are looking for a dark coloured Mercedes Benz

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Most Read