The public needs to understand the issues concerning the recent Liberal government lockout of teachers.
On May 21, Christy Clark’s administrator, Michael Marchbank, sent a letter to the BCTF outlining the parameters of the lockout, which has resulted in a 10 per cent teacher pay cut starting May 26.
Teachers are directed: “not to work during recess or lunch hours” and “not to attend their workplace earlier than 45 minutes before the commencement of their instructional time or later than 45 minutes after their instructional time.”
Then, Clark’s minister of education, Peter Fassbender, clarified the government’s intention in the media by saying, “If teachers withdraw from participation in extracurricular or volunteer activities, they do so at the encouragement of the union and by their own choice.”
On the one hand, the government is telling teachers they are locked out from being at work; on the other hand, they are telling the public that teachers are free to work (as volunteers whose pay, incidentally, has just been cut by 10 per cent and who may not be covered by WCB).
Clark’s government is sending contradictory messages to parents and teachers, in effect, creating confusion, maligning dedicated teachers, and shifting blame to the BCTF.
Premier Clark’s handling of the lockout is incompetent at best and maliciously manipulative at worst. Unfortunately for all British Columbians, neither are desirable qualities in a government leader.
President, Fraser-Cascade Teachers’ Association