Teachers poised to strike

Vote gives teachers a strong mandate to strike in September

JIll McCaffery ... applying pressure

JIll McCaffery ... applying pressure

Local teacher’s in School District 69 (Qualicum) joined those across the province giving a strong strike mandate in ongoing negotiations. 

About 60 per cent of teachers across the province participated, of which 90 per cent (25,282 teachers) voted to give their provincial leaders the mandate.

BC Teachers’ Federation president Susan Lambert said in a press release the strong yes vote shows teachers are prepared to take action to achieve their goals of improved teaching and learning conditions, fair improvements to salary and benefits and restoration of local bargaining rights.

“Facing a concerted campaign by the government and the employer to turn back the clock on teachers’ rights and reverse hard-won provisions on due process, we have no choice but to take a stand for ourselves, our students and our profession. The employer is offering nothing and at the same time demanding we make many significant concessions. That’s not collective bargaining. It’s just bullying.”

 Jill McCaffery, president of the Mount Arrowsmith Teachers’ Association, echoed Lambert’s statement. “Teachers’ working conditions are our student’s learning conditions and the employer seems determined to significantly weaken the opportunities for student success.”

 If the teachers are not satisfied with the progress they will start “teach-only” job action when classes resume in September. McCaffery said teachers will continue to teach but stop doing administrative tasks. 

“This initial job action is designed to put pressure on the employer and the government, but to maintain regular classroom instruction for students and ongoing communication with parents,” McCaffery said.

Lambert has said the teachers would stop attending staff meetings, collecting data, filling out forms, doing formal report cards and doing playground supervision but they will communicate with parents on student progress.

The two sides have been negotiating for several months.