Low-key teachers’ strike has started

  • Sep. 28, 2005 4:00 p.m.

By Heather Ramsay-Teachers are on strike, but neither parents nor students may notice a change at first. Teachers want to keep their job action from impacting parents and children as much as they can, says Duncan White, president of the Queen Charlotte District Teachers’ Association.
The strike, which started Wednesday morning in public schools on the islands and across the province is designed to place pressure on the employer, but maintain regular classroom teaching and voluntary extra-curricular activities.
In the first two weeks of the strike, teachers will not supervise students before school, at lunch and at recess. And they will not attend meetings with administrators, nor file attendance records.
Although these may seem unimportant, the job action will affect some field trips such as the Forest Stewardship Outdoor Education Program (see related story). The school district will also have to find someone else to look after supervisory duties.
A total of 88.4-percent of 42,000 teachers in BC voted ‘yes’ in the province-wide strike vote held last week, according to the BC Teachers’ Federation.
The BCTF, which represents public school teachers across the province, has three demands says Mr. White.
One is a 15-percent salary increase over three years. The second is a full restoration of bargaining rights taken away in the contract they were legislated to accept in 2002, and the third is to restore learning conditions taken away in the last contract.
The government removed class size limits, ratios for special education students per class, numbers of learning assistants, teacher-librarians and more.
Mr. White says in the islands’ school district, the impact of these changes is seen in the composition of classes.
“The number of special needs in classes has shot up, with no extra support,” he says.
“It is time consuming and stressful to deal with classes like that, but also demoralizing.”
The limited job action will escalate to rotating strikes starting October 11, then to a full-scale walkout October 24 if there’s no progress at the bargaining table, says Mr. White.
But, to complicate matters, these plans may have to change.
Thanks to legislation enacted in 2001, which deemed teachers an essential service, the Labour Relations Board is involved in the dispute.
Mr. White says BC is the only province in Canada that deems its teachers an essential service.
Normally, the designation is for professions like fire-fighters and police where there’d be danger to the public with a disruption in service, he says.
The LRB has been asked to rule which teachers’ services are essential. That ruling is expected this week.
School district superintendent Mike Woods says the school board hopes labour negotiations will be concluded quickly and that normal school operations resume.

Just Posted

B.C. First Nation Chief Ed John faces historic sex charges

John served as minister for children and families under then-premier Ujjah Dosanjh

Cullen gets $89,000 in post-MP severance

At 55, the former MP will also be eligible for an $82,000 per annum pension

Carol Young, an artist who fought for timely cancer treatment in Abbotsford, dies before first solo show

B.C. Haida artist’s exhibit to open Saturday at downtown Seattle gallery

PHOTOS: Masset Remembers

Veterans, the Legion, the RCMP and the town came out to honour all those who have bravely served

Freezing rain warning issued for central Interior Remembrance Day

Highway alerts in place for Begbie Summitt and Pine Pass

VIDEO: B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

Tolko shuts B.C. divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

Port Moody mayor says stayed sex assault charge related to ‘awkward date’

Rob Vagramov said charge was related to a string of dates in 2015

UBC conference draws fire over speaker from Chinese tech company blacklisted in U.S.

The company that has been blacklisted by the U.S. over links to the repression of China’s Muslim minority

‘It’s been 12 years’: Father of murdered B.C. real estate agent pleads for mayor’s help

Lindsay Buziak was stabbed to death on Feb. 2, 2008 in Saanich. Her case is unsolved.

B.C. woman sends fight to reduce preventable medical errors to Victoria

Teri McGrath and South Okanagan senior’s centre members presented 150 signature petition to local MLA

Most Read