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Kelowna News

Full strike could begin Tuesday, no school Monday

Parents and teachers picket at Ecole de L’Anse-Au-Sable on Gordon Dr.

OKANAGAN - This week could be the last week of school for many students, the teachers’ union announced this morning it will be moving to a full strike beginning Tuesday unless a deal can be reached on the collective agreement.

An email was sent to teachers Thursday night and quickly news spread on social media. B.C. Teachers’ Federation President Jim Iker made it official Thursday morning, saying notice has been served for a full strike to begin Tuesday and plans Monday to be a ‘study session’ without instructional work. Monday will be considered an extension of stage two action with teachers meeting off school property and Iker says he is still hoping an agreement can be met prior to avoid any 'potential escalation.'

The government has applied to have the marking of exams and completion of report cards for secondary students considered an essential service. The province has said earlier provincial exams will go ahead as planned for secondary students in Grades 10-12. Students in Kindergarten through Grade 9 will not have any school during a full strike.

Teachers began job action in April with reduced administrative and supervisory duties and a month later rotating strikes began. The government instituted a partial lockout in response. This week marked the third week of rotating strikes and earlier in the week the union took a vote looking for support to move to a full strike if needed. More than 70 per cent of the more than 40,000 B.C. teachers voted and of those 86 per cent voted in favour of a full strike.

Rotating strikes will continue this week as planned, with teachers in districts 23 and 83 (Central and North Okanagan) withdrawing services today, Thursday, June 12 and teachers in Kamloops-Thompson (SD73) will strike on Friday, June 13. Teachers in Vernon (SD22) and Okanagan Skaha (SD67) picketed Wednesday.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at jstahn@infotelnews.ca or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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