September 08, 2014 - 1:09 PM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Plans to call for a general strike beginning Wednesday have been put on hold while B.C. residents wait for the results of a teachers' union vote on suspending the strike and whether the government will agree to binding arbitration.
A group of concerned citizens originally planned a three-day general strike to begin Wednesday as a way to involve parents, students and some B.C. unions in showing support for teachers struggling through contract negotiations with the province.
“Now the public has no choice but to get involved in this matter and help get this mess cleaned up and the kids back in school,” group administrator Orin Beebe said in a release this weekend.
The first step was a call for a general strike by parents, students and workers in support of B.C. public education. Rallies and marches were to take place in city parks across the province this Wednesday, Sept. 10, followed by demonstrations in front of MLA offices Thursday and others outside courthouses on Friday.
Local rallies were planned for communities across the region, from Osoyoos to Salmon Arm and Nakusp to Lillooet.
Plans changed when the teachers' union announced it would have members vote on whether to suspend the strike and enter arbitration. Organizers of the Rally for Change group are giving the government until noon on Friday to either enter binding arbitration and/or remove clause E80, which refers to the class composition court case, before organizers will again put out a call for a general strike.
The general strike was initiated after the B.C. government refused to enter binding arbitration, as requested by the teachers’ union last week. The online movement has already garnered more than 2,600 followers on Facebook.
Teachers have been striking since June and school was cancelled last week and this week after negotiations again broke down between the union and the province.
Where rallies were originally scheduled for:
Kamloops - Prince Charles Park
Kelowna - City Park
Lillooet - Lillooet Rec Center fields
Merritt - Lions Memorial Park
Nakusp - Nakusp Recreation Park
Oliver - Oliver Parks and Recreation Field
Osoyoos - Cottonwood park
Peachland - Chamber of Commerce Field
Penticton - Gyro Park
Salmon Arm - Fletcher Park
Vernon - Justice Park
West Kelowna - Town Center Park
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— This story was updated 10:47 a.m., Sept. 9, 2014 to show organizers have suspended the call to strike.
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