Teachers’ labour dispute sparks parent protest

Image Credit: Facebook

KAMLOOPS – Social media has been burning up as angry parents vent about the break down in talks between teachers and the provincial government.

People who are usually spending the last long weekend of summer shopping for back-to-school supplies and clothes have instead been busy organizing a protest for Tuesday, the day school was supposed to resume in most school districts across B.C.

Michelle Blundell-Dunkerley of Kamloops has two kids, an 8-year-old and a 5-year-old who were both looking forward to heading back to school, especially the younger child who was excited about their first day of kindergarten.

She is helping to organize a protest rally at MLA Todd Stone’s office in Kamloops. A Facebook page has been created to get the word out.

“Parents are being held hostage by this dispute. Somebody has to stand up and say this isn’t OK,” Blundell-Dunkerly said. “It’s time the parents let the government know that as taxpayers and voters we are not OK with this.”

Parents are being encouraged to bring their children to the rally, which starts at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. There is also talk of protesting at MLA Terry Lake’s office as well.

The Kamloops rally is part of a wider protest being organized in cities across the province.

Blundell-Dunkerly thinks if parents show solidarity and demand action from the government on the labour dispute, the politicians will listen.

“We can’t get on with our lives. We can’t make plans for next week,” she said. “The government has a responsibility to educate our children.”

Talks between teachers and their employer collapsed on Saturday.

Vince Ready, the veteran mediator who brought the parties together walked out on the third day of meetings, saying both sides were too far apart.

His departure from the latest round of talks has many worried that an ongoing teachers’ strike will delay the start of class indefinitely.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Howard Alexander at halexander@infonews.ca or call 250-491-0331. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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