May 20, 2014 - 11:17 AM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Teachers announced today they will conduct a rotating strike next week in an effort to move along negotiations with the province.
The strike begins Monday, May 26 in School District 67 (Okanagan Skaha) and will be followed by the Central Okanagan (SD23) and North Okanagan-Shuswap (SD83) districts Tuesday. On Wednesday, May 28 teachers in the Kamloops Thompson district (SD73) will strike and on the final day, Thursday, May 29, the Vernon district (SD22) will strike.
The B.C. Teachers’ Federation blames the strike on the ‘unwillingness’ of the provincial government and B.C. Public School Employers Association to offer improvements on class size, composition and wages, among other items. In April the union began a ‘low level’ job action. Teachers stopped participating in administrative duties or supervisory duties outside of classroom hours.
Late last week the province announced it would lower the term it was seeking to six years from 10, a move that offered the teachers’ union hope.
“It’s clear this government is feeling the pressure but we’re not there yet,” union president Jim Iker said at the time. “We need to get a deal that is fair, respects (teachers’) work and improves conditions for our students. I’m hopeful, I’m optimistic. We want to see an agreement by the end of June.”
All schools will be open Friday, May 30 but the rotating strike may be extended depending on what happens at the bargaining table, Iker says.
The rotating closures are part of a two-stage strike plan voted on by teachers in March. During that vote, teachers gave their bargaining team an overwhelming mandate to begin low-level job action and then move to rotating strikes if meaningful progress was not made in negotiations. In all, 29,301 teachers cast ballots and 89% voted in favour of the two-stage job action plan.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014