Teachers give strike notice
By Jennifer Stahn
Teachers have announced the first stage of job action will begin April 23.
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April 17, 2014 - 2:57 PM
JOB ACTION BEGINS APRIL 23
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN — The teachers union and the province are still very far apart in negotiations and as a result teachers have served 72 hour notice for stage one job action.
On Wednesday, April 23 teachers will begin a ‘low level’ stage one, which means teachers will no longer be doing administrative work and supervisory roles like recess.
“There will be no immediate disruption to students. It does not ask teachers to stop participating in extra curricular activities and they will continue writing report cards and communicating with parents,” B.C. Teachers Federation President Jim Iker says of the job action. “Teachers will not undertake any supervision outside of regularly scheduled classes, not attend any meetings, no routine printed or electronic communication, they will not attend prior to one hour before or after instructional time.”
He notes it has been six weeks since teachers voted 89 per cent in favour of job action and with little progress made between now and then notice was issued this afternoon.
Iker says class size and composition as well as staffing levels are the biggest concerns facing teachers at the bargaining table and the current offer from the B.C. Government is ‘unfair and unreasonable.’
“We’re asking for a cost of living adjustment and market adjustments to catch up with the rest of our colleagues in other provinces,” Iker says. “It’s very fair and reasonable. We know it won’t get us up to our colleagues across Canada, but it’s an important start.”
“Yes it will cost more to give our kids more resources and make our education system better, but we think it’s worth it.”
Iker will not speculate on how long the first stage of job action will last and says it depends completely on the bargaining table. Teachers are willing to stage rotating strikes of one day per week as part of a second stage of action if necessary.
“We will give the government more time to avoid any school closures,” Iker says, “But our patience is running out.”
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