June 18, 2014 - 4:46 PM
FUND HAS BEEN EXHAUSTED
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - With salaries cut back during the strike and a fund normally used to cover teachers during strike action exhausted, local teacher associations are now setting up hardship funds for those needing help.
“There is a slight fund but it’s exhausted. It’s the same fund we used to fight class size and composition, so most has gone to that and we haven’t caught up yet,” Kamloops-Thompson Teacher Association President Jason Karpuk says. “But we are establishing a hardship fund in the local, and other locals are doing the same thing. The amount in the fund will vary by local, but we’re all taking care of each other.”
Karpuk says teachers are still committed to seeing the strike action through until a deal can be made on the collective agreement.
As long as the teachers hold out the government is saving on paying out those salaries. With about 33,000 full time equivalent positions getting an average of $72,000 per year, the savings are adding up quickly.
Based on those numbers (provided by the B.C. Teacher’s Federation) the average teacher receives $277 per day (based on five day work weeks over 52 weeks) for an average daily salary of more than $9 million.
The cost of the strike for signs and time has not been calculated either, but it has started to add up.
“We’re dealing with that issue,” Karpuk says. “At the end of the day it’s the price of doing business. We do have a fund in our local set aside for that though.”
Teachers agreed to move to the first phase of job action in April and a month later began rotating strikes. This week a full strike began when an agreement could not be reached in time. Karpuk says both parties are at the table today but he has not heard how it is going just yet.
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