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Parksville Qualicum schools behind picket lines

Teachers and supporters were picketing District 69 schools on Wednesday as part of job action by B.C. teachers. - Auren Ruvinsky photo
Teachers and supporters were picketing District 69 schools on Wednesday as part of job action by B.C. teachers.
— image credit: Auren Ruvinsky photo

While both the government and teachers lament the current labour conflict and impact of rotating strikes, they are still at the table looking for a negotiated settlement.

School District 69 teachers were on the picket lines Wednesday, with CUPE support, as part of the job action rotating through the province this week. Local schools were closed for one day as part of stage two job action approved by B.C. Teachers' Federation members last month.

At a news conference in Victoria, Education Minister Peter Fassbender said the government wouldn't force a resolution.

"I have said consistently, (and) the premier has, we want a negotiated settlement. To rush to legislation is not where we're going to go," Fassbender told media outlets.

BCTF president Jim Iker said he hoped the increased action would help push the bargaining process, but added that it is not what teachers want to be doing.

The B.C. Public School Employers’ Association responded to the escalation by bringing in a partial lockout, cutting teacher’s pay by 10 per cent and baring them from school activities more than 45 minutes before and after school.

The local Mount Arrowsmith Teachers’ Association president Debbie Morran told the school board at their Tuesday regular meeting that teachers are using the extra time to connect with each other and they are becoming more united.

She said many gyms are closed at lunch, students are not getting extra help and report cards and tests are not being marked.

“We will be on the picket lines tomorrow, in our struggle to have a fully funded education system, in our struggle to support our students adequately, and in our struggle to be respected as professionals from a government that doesn’t respect us,” Morran said.

Iker said the rotating strikes could continue next week depending on progress at the bargaining table.

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