Teachers’ strike not yet costly: school district

  • Sep. 14, 2011 8:00 a.m.

The teachers’ job action has meant more work for principals and other non-union staff on the islands, but so far has not resulted in substantial additional costs for the district, says superintendent Angus Wilson. Mr. Wilson said there could be costs if the job action drags on. Right now, exempt staff are doing some extra travelling, he said, to cover supervision during recess, before and after school. “Over time, that will be a little bit of a cost,” he said. With teachers refusing to do any fundraising as part of the job action, students may notice that fewer extra-curricular trips and activities get organized. “It’s probably going to reduce the amount of those activities that happen,” Mr. Wilson said. The Haida Gwaii school district is small and enjoys good relationships between the teachers and principals, Mr. Wilson said, which means that everyone has stayed cordial during the job action so far. Jennifer Jury of the Haida Gwaii Teachers’ Association agreed, saying the first few days back to school with the job action have gone smoothly. There has been a bit of confusion about exactly what tasks teachers are allowed and not allowed to do, but that is getting sorted out, she said. “I do feel comfortable saying that nobody wants to be on strike,” she said. “But teachers are appreciating that some of the parameters of the strike are allowing them to focus on teaching, on the parts of their job that are really rewarding.” Under phase one of the job action, teachers across BC have withdrawn a variety of administrative-type tasks, like supervising students at recess, meeting with administrators, collecting money from students or participating in fundraising. They will also be refusing to prepare report cards if no agreement has been reached when report card time comes around. Trustee Christine Martynuik, who was on the bargaining committee that reached an agreement on local issues with local teachers, said she’s concerned there’s not enough pressure on the BC Teachers’ Federation to reach an agreement. The teachers have been allowed to stop performing some of their duties while still receiving full pay, she said. In a complete strike situation, there would be some pressure on the BCTF to reach an agreement because no one would be collecting their regular pay cheque. “I’m worried because right now there is no pressure on the BCTF to settle,” she said. Ms Martynuik said she also objected to the BCTF “muddying the waters” by saying the strike is partly about getting more resources for kids in the classroom. Issues about class size and composition are being dealt with in a different process, she said, and are not on the bargaining table at the negotiations now underway between the BCTF and BCPSEA, the organization that bargains on behalf of the province’s school boards. Ms Martynuik said the BCTF is asking for substantial increases to benefits and has not yet tabled its salary proposals. This will be a challenge as the government has said it has no additional money to improve salary and benefits. “Two-thirds of the public sector reached agreement with zero mandate,” Ms Martynuik said.

Just Posted

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

Port post office delivers a thank-you to first responders

Commemerative stamps honour firefighters, police, SAR teams, paramedics, and armed forces

In Pictures: Expression Sessions hangs ten

Wave gods smile on the 10th edition of the Haida Gwaii surf festival

Haida Gwaii Sea Cadets set sail

Some young salts joined the Remembrance Day parade in Queen Charlotte last… Continue reading

Winter weather hits parts of Canada

As some parts of the country brace for cold, parts of B.C. remain warmer than 10 C

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Kelly Ellard’s boyfriend has statutory release revoked

Darwin Duane Dorozan had several parole infractions that found him ‘unmanageable’

Doctor’s note shouldn’t be required to prove you’re sick: poll

70% of Canadians oppose allowing employers to make you get a sick note

German-born B.C. man warns against a ‘yes’ vote on proportional representation

Agassiz realtor Freddy Marks says PR in his home country shows party elites can never be voted out

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Saskatchewan college honours memory of Humboldt Broncos coach

Darcy Haugan wore jersey No. 22 when he was a star player with the Briercrest College Clippers

Liberals to act quickly if Saturday midnight deal deadline breached: source

Oh Friday, Canadian Union of Postal Workers said it would not bring the latest offers to a vote of its members

Most Read