Frustrated teachers to begin low-level job action on April 23

The BC Teachers’ Federation, fed up with what it calls “disappointing progress at the negotiating table,” will begin low-level job action that only targets administrative duties BCTF President Jim Iker said Thursday, April 17.

“On March 6, after over a year of negotiations, 89% of BC teachers voted in favour of potential job action to help secure a fair and reasonable settlement,” he said in a statement. “The overwhelming vote was a strong and decisive mandate from teachers to put pressure on Christy Clark’s government and the negotiators for the BC Public School Employers’ Association. Teachers hoped that the vote would encourage the government and employer’s association to back off key demands, strips, and unreasonable positions.

“Unfortunately more than six weeks since that vote, the government and employers’ unfair positions have barely moved. The government and BCPSEA continue to demand concessions while ignoring the BC Supreme Court ruling on class size, composition, and staffing levels. In addition, the unreasonable 10-year term and salary proposals, which include up to two more years of zeros, are still on the table.”

What the statement described as “Stage 1 job action” will start on Wednesday, April 23, after the Easter weekend.

“There will be no immediate school closures or disruptions to students,” the statement promised. “This first stage is administrative in nature only. Teachers will continue to teach, write report cards, communicate with parents, and participate in their volunteer extracurricular activities.

During Stage 1 job action teachers will not:

  • Undertake any mandated supervision of students outside of regularly scheduled classes, except as set out by an essential services order;
  • Attend any meetings with management other than meetings of the worksite Joint Health and Safety Committee;
  • Provide principals or administrators with any routine printed, written, or electronic communication;
  • Receive any printed, written, or electronic communication from an administrator; or
  • Be at a worksite prior to one hour before commencement of instructional time and one hour after the end of instructional time, other than for pre-arranged voluntary activities.

Iker also said any escalation from Stage 1 to Stage 2, which would mean rotating strikes, will depend entirely on progress at the negotiating table.