Teachers to begin rotating strikes next week


As a result of what the BC Teachers’ Federation claims is “the unwillingness of the provincial government and the BC Public School Employers’ Association to offer any improvements” to class size, class composition, and other learning conditions for students, as well as their “unfair wage demands,” teachers will begin rotating strikes on Monday, May 26.

The rotating strikes will begin on Monday, May 26, and continue May 27, 28, and 29.

Teachers at the four schools of Revelstoke’s School District 19 will be on strike on Tuesday, May 27. School District #93 (Conseil Scolaire Francophone) schools, including Ecole des Glaciers at Arrow Heights Elementary, will be closed with others in their local communities throughout the week.

All school districts will be impacted on one of those days. All schools will be open on Friday, May 30. Any extension of the rotating job action will depend on events at the bargaining table.

“Last week, teachers were hopeful when they saw the government and BCPSEA put out an olive branch by backing off the unrealistic 10-year term,” BCTF President Jim Iker said in a statement released on Tuesday morning, May 20. “But the next day, hope that this government would start negotiating in good faith faded when the employer announced a series of threats around wage rollbacks, lockouts, and attempts to divide teachers, parents, and students.”

In March, teachers began low-level job action to put pressure on government and BCPSEA.

“Unfortunately, the employer has steadfastly refused to table any improvements to class size, class composition, and staffing levels for specialist teachers,” Iker said. “Teachers have twice won the right to negotiate our working conditions, which are also students’ learning conditions, in BC Supreme Court. We expect government to bring new funding to the table to make those improvements happen.”

Iker said the rotating closures are part of a two-stage strike plan voted on by teachers in March. In all, 29,301 teachers cast ballots — 89% voted in favour of the two-stage job action plan.

With BC spending $1,000 per student less than the national average, British Columbians must take a strong stand and convince the BC Liberal government government to reinvest in students, Iker said

“If this government is serious about labour peace they should offer teachers a fair deal and show some good faith. We will remain at the bargaining table. There are six days left before the first schools shut down. I encourage (Premier) Christy Clark and (Education Minister) Peter Fassbender to be in touch, move off their unreasonable demands, and empower BCPSEA to negotiate a fair deal.”

The planned schedule of school closures (by school district name) is as follows:


Monday, May 26#5 – Southeast Kootenay#6 – Rocky Mountain

#28 – Quesnel

#39 – Vancouver

#40 – New Westminster

#48 – Sea to Sky

#49 – Central Coast

#59 – Peace River South

#62 – Sooke

#67 – Okanagan Skaha

#72 – Campbell River

#74 – Gold Trail

#75 – Mission

#78 – Fraser-Cascade

#85 – Vancouver Island North

#87 – Stikine

Tuesday, May 27#10 – Arrow Lakes#19 – Revelstoke

#20 – Kootenay-Columbia

#23 – Central Okanagan

#27 – Cariboo-Chilcotin

#35 – Langley

#38 – Richmond

#42 – Maple Ridge

#52 – Prince Rupert

#54 – Bulkley Valley

#63 – Saanich

#68 – Nanaimo

#70 – Alberni

#81 – Fort Nelson

#83 – North Okanagan-Shuswap

Wednesday, May 28#34 – Abbotsford#37 – Delta

#43 – Coquitlam

#47 – Powell River

#50 – Haida Gwaii

#51 – Boundary

#53 – Okanagan Similkameen

#60 – Peace River North

#61 – Greater Victoria

#69 – Qualicum

#73 – Kamloops Thompson

#84 – Vancouver Island West

#91 – Nechako Lakes

#92 – Nisga’a

Thursday May, 29#8 – Kootenay Lake#22 – Vernon

#33 – Chilliwack

#36 – Surrey

#41 – Burnaby

#44 – North Vancouver

#45 – West Vancouver

#46 – Sunshine Coast

#57 – Prince George

#58 – Nicola Similkameen

#64 – Gulf Islands

#71 – Comox

#79 – Cowichan Valley

#82 – Coast Mountains