May 24, 2014 - 8:33 AM
KELOWNA - With just days left before British Columbia's public school teachers launch rotating strike action, contract talks have been put on hold.
Union and management say both sides agreed to cancel Friday's bargaining session while they reassess each others proposals.
Rich Overgaard, of the B.C. Teachers' Federation, says the union can't be expected to be the only one that moves and government must change its position on class size, composition of those classes and wages.
Scheduled negotiations are set for next Monday for three days, the same day teachers launch the first of four days of rotating strikes across the province.
The rotating strike will hit the Central Okanagan School District on Tuesday, May 27. The unionized support staff will likely not cross the picket lines. The schools will have no teaching and support staff to supervise the children. Parents are being asked to keep the kids at home or make alternative arrangements for them. Since it’s a one day strike, classes will resume on Wednesday.
A government spokesman says the employers association is willing to negotiate at any time, including over the weekend, if the union wants to go back to talks.
Tensions between the two sides mushroomed this week as teachers announced job action, while the government imposed a partial lockout, limiting teacher's time in schools and warning of full-scale lockouts at the end of June.
The government is offering a 7.25 per cent wage increase over six years, while the province says the teachers want 15.9 per cent over four years.
- With files from The Canadian Press
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014