Threat of a full-scale teachers’ strike to be decided next week

Faced with a decision by the BC Labour Relations Board that the government can claw back 10% of teachers’ wages the BC Teachers Federation has decided it is time for a full-blown strike.

A statement from the union said teachers will participate in a strike vote on Monday, June 9, and Tuesday, June 10. The ballot question will ask whether they approve of escalation up to and including a full withdrawal of services.

Revelstoke Teachers’ Association President Jennifer Wolney was not available to comment on this development late Wednesday afternoon.

This second province-wide vote is needed to demonstrate to government and the employer that teachers are determined to achieve gains on salary, class size and composition, and support for students with special needs.

“Yesterday we reduced our salary proposal as part of a series of significant moves at the bargaining table, but the government responded with nothing,” BCTF President Jim Iker said in the statement.

“Despite this demonstration of good will, the government remains entrenched in its position. They have not moved on the salary offer tabled back in April. And to date, they have not put a single dollar onto the bargaining table to ensure class-size limits, class-composition guarantees, and minimum levels of specialist teachers into the collective agreement.”

Teachers last got a raise in July 2010.

“Even before today’s LRB ruling, the BCTF Executive Committee met to discuss next steps,” Iker said.  “We decided last night (Tuesday) that the time has come to apply even more pressure to the negotiating table to get a fair deal and better support for students.”

Teachers do not take job action lightly but there is still time to avert a full-scale strike.

“If Premier Christy Clark is sincere about labour peace and putting families first, she can give (the BC Public School Employers Assocaition) the funding to bring us closer together to enable a deal. But, she must act soon.”