The BC Teachers’ Federation has officially served notice that its members can go on a full strike on Tuesday, June 17.
“There are still several days left, during which both sides can hunker down, reach a settlement, avoid a full-scale strike, and end the government’s lockout,” Union President Jim Iker said in a statement on Thursday morning, June 12. “We’re ready to move, but my message to Christy Clark is, come to the table with new funding, an open mind, and the flexibility needed to reach a fair settlement that will support teachers and students.”
Earlier this week 86% of the union’s teachers voted in favour of a full withdrawal of their services.
“This week’s vote made it clear that BC teachers care deeply about the state of public education and their ability to meet the needs of all their students,” Iker said. “As well, it showed how firmly teachers are committed to doing what’s necessary to reach a fair deal. “After 12 years of deep cuts, 3,500 teaching positions lost, and 200 schools closed, we are urging this government to reinvest in public education. Teachers are doing their utmost in an underfunded and under-resourced system, but students are not getting the support or one-on-one time they need. Our kids deserve so much more.
In addition, the BCTF has provided notice that on Monday, June 16, all teachers will participate in study sessions off school property. Schools will not be picketed, but teachers will not be on site.
For the balance of this week, rotating strikes will continue according to the schedule announced earlier. Teachers remain locked out by their employer during recess, lunch, and 45 minutes before and after school, preventing them from doing their regular work during lockout hours.
“To get a fair deal and avert a full-scale strike, BC teachers are looking for improvements to class size, class composition, and staffing levels for specialist teachers to increase one-on-one time for students,” Iker said. “In addition to improvements to student learning conditions, a fair deal must also include a fair wage increase for teachers.”