Rotating school strikes to start Monday

BCTF rejects signing bonus, releases list of school districts to be hit by one-day picket lines starting Monday

B.C. Teachers' Federation president Jim Iker

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation plans to start one-day rotating strikes at schools around the province on Monday, 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% over six years. A simultaneous plan to cut teacher wages 5% 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 at one group of school districts in each of the first four days next week, with teachers returning to work across the province on Friday, May 30.

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 today 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.

Iker reiterated the union’s position that more pay, more teachers and a return to contract language guaranteeing class size and special needs support are needed to reach a settlement.

Peter Cameron, chief negotiator for the province’s 60 school districts, informed the union last week that a 5% 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%.

Cameron said last week the union’s latest wage demand amounts to 15.9% over four years, far beyond what other provincial public service unions have received. The BCTF maintains its wage proposal is 13.25% over four years, including cost-of-living increases based on each year’s inflation rate.

The BCTF’s school district strike schedule:

Monday, May 26

#5 – Southeast Kootenay

#6 – Rocky Mountain

#28 – Quesnel

#39 – Vancouver

#40 – New Westminster

#48 – Sea to Sky

#49 – Central Coast

#59 – Peace River South

#62 – Sooke

#67 – Okanagan Skaha

#72 – Campbell River

#74 – Gold Trail

#75 – Mission

#78 – Fraser-Cascade

#85 – Vancouver Island North

#87 – Stikine

Tuesday, May 27

#10 – Arrow Lakes

#19 – Revelstoke

#20 – Kootenay-Columbia

#23 – Central Okanagan

#27 – Cariboo-Chilcotin

#35 – Langley

#38 – Richmond

#42 – Maple Ridge

#52 – Prince Rupert

#54 – Bulkley Valley

#63 – Saanich

#68 – Nanaimo

#70 – Alberni

#81 – Fort Nelson

#83 – North Okanagan-Shuswap

Wednesday, May 28

#34 – Abbotsford

#37 – Delta

#43 – Coquitlam

#47 – Powell River

#50 – Haida Gwaii

#51 – Boundary

#53 – Okanagan Similkameen

#60 – Peace River North

#61 – Greater Victoria

#69 – Qualicum

#73 – Kamloops Thompson

#84 – Vancouver Island West

#91 – Nechako Lakes

#92 – Nisga’a

Thursday May, 29

#8 – Kootenay Lake

#22 – Vernon

#33 – Chilliwack

#36 – Surrey

#41 – Burnaby

#44 – North Vancouver

#45 – West Vancouver

#46 – Sunshine Coast

#57 – Prince George

#58 – Nicola Similkameen

#64 – Gulf Islands

#71 – Comox

#79 – Cowichan Valley

#82 – Coast Mountains

Just Posted

Most cows saved during massive fire on Agassiz farm thanks to fast work of farmers, neighbours

Agassiz Fire Department responded to late night call Wednesday

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

Massive fire destroys Agassiz dairy barn

Reports say at least one cow died in the blaze

First court date in Chilliwack for man accused of murdering Belgian tourist

Family and friends of Sean McKenzie, 27, filled the gallery for brief court appearance Wednesday

Another successful year for Chilliwack’s ‘We Got Your Back’ backpack program

Sponsored by local businesses, program stocks backpacks with school supplies for students in need

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

Free vet clinic caters to pets of homeless, low income people

The first such clinic in Langley will take place later this month.

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

Extradition hearing set for Lower Mainland developer accused of fraud

Mark Chandler will go before the B.C. Court of Appeals early next year.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Most Read