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Limited job action by B.C. teachers to begin WednesdayApril 21, 2014

Author: Webmaster

Here we go again.

Teachers plan to begin a Stage 1 job action Wednesday in response to unsuccessful contract talks with government during the past year.  This limited job action is aimed at administration and isn’t expected to have a direct impact on students.

Classes will continue as usual. So will field trips, report cards and communications with parents. But teachers will not supervise students outside of class (leaving that to administrators) and will be at school only one hour before classes begin and one hour after they end, except for pre-arranged voluntary activities, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) says in a release.

They will not attend meetings with management and they will eschew printed, written or electronic communications with administrators or principals. If the job action escalates to Stage 2, there will be rotating province-wide strikes, BCTF president Jim Iker (pictured above) has warned.

Although Stage 1 is aimed at administration, job action inevitably has an effect on the entire school community, as we saw in 2011-12. What happens next is anyone’s guess, but government has suggested it’s going to play hardball.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender said in a statement that the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) will respond to the BCTF strike “in an appropriate and principled manner to put commensurate pressure  on the union.”

“This time round, with the BCTF also feeling pressure to reach an agreement, we hope both sides will be equally motivated to find solutions at the table, rather than letting the BCTF’s strike drift on indefinitely,” he stated.

The release did not elaborate, but government negotiator Peter Cameron suggested  earlier that the union could be required to pay for teacher health and welfare benefits during any job action, at a cost of about $5 million a month.

That didn’t sit well with some board of education, including Surrey, which passed a motion expressing its disappointment with BCPSEA for not appropriately consulting with boards before taking that position.

BCCPAC president Terry Berting told News1130: “I’m generally an optimistic person. I really try to look for the best, but this time around . . . it just seems almost inevitable.”

He said it may be time for BCCPAC to be more vocal than it has in the past.

Details on the Labour Relations Board ruling on Phase 1 can be found here.

I am a guest blogger for BCCPAC and information presented here does not represent the organization

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