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UPDATED: BCTF, government argue in front of Labour Relations Board

Teachers and CUPE Local 748 support workers walked the picket line outside Blewett Elementary School Wednesday. — The Nelson Daily photo

The battle between the government and BC teachers moved from the bargaining table to the Labour Relations Board room as both sides argued about the 10 per cent pay cut.

The BC Teacher's Federation told the LRB the government does not have the right to deduct salaries by 10 percent for teachers staging a partial lockout.

The pay cut was announced last week by the government for teachers walking off the job for one day along with reducing their hours and duties.

The BCTF says the government decision is punitive and that decision is only adding fuel to an already fire between the two sides.

Lawyers from both sides made initial arguments on Thursday.

The LRB is expected to have a ruling by next Wednesday.

Teachers saw a reduction on their pay cheques Wednesday, which the government said is expected to save $1 million per day.

The rotating strikes, which the BCTF has scheduled another round for next week (see strike schedule below) should put $16.5 million back in the coffers per week.

The key stumbling blocks in this dispute continue to be wages, class size and composition.

Week 2 teachers' strike schedule

Monday, June 2

  • #20 - Kootenay-Columbia
  • #23 - Central Okanagan
  • #27 - Cariboo-Chilcotin
  • #35 -Langley
  • #37 - Delta
  • #38 - Richmond
  • #42 - Maple Ridge
  • #52 - Prince Rupert
  • #59 - Peace River South
  • #63 - Saanich
  • #68 - Nanaimo
  • #70 - Alberni
  • #83 - North Okanagan-Shuswap

Tuesday, June 3

  • #10 - Arrow Lakes
  • #19 - Revelstoke
  • #22 - Vernon
  • #33 - Chilliwack
  • #36 - Surrey
  • #41 - Burnaby
  • #44 - North Vancouver
  • #45 - West Vancouver
  • #46 - Sunshine Coast
  • #57 - Prince George
  • #58 - Nicola Similkameen
  • #64 - Gulf Islands
  • #71 - Comox
  • #79 - Cowichan Valley
  • #81 - Fort Nelson

Wednesday, June 4

  • No rotating strikes

Thursday, June 5

  • #8 - Kootenay Lake
  • #34 - Abbotsford
  • #43 - Coquitlam
  • #47 - Powell River
  • #50 - Haida Gwaii
  • #51 - Boundary
  • #53 - Okanagan Similkameen
  • #54 - Bulkley Valley
  • #60 - Peace River North
  • #61 - Greater Victoria
  • #69 - Qualicum
  • #73 - Kamloops Thompson
  • #84 - Vancouver Island West
  • #91 - Nechako Lakes
  • #92 - Nisga’a

Friday, June 6

  • #5 - Southeast Kootenay
  • #6 - Rocky Mountain
  • #28 - Quesnel
  • #39 - Vancouver
  • #40 - New Westminster
  • #48 - Sea to Sky
  • #49 - Central Coast
  • #62 - Sooke
  • #67 - Okanagan Skaha
  • #72 - Campbell River
  • #74 - Gold Trail
  • #75 - Mission
  • #78 - Fraser-Cascade
  • #82 - Coast Mountains
  • #85 - Vancouver Island North
  • #87 - Stikine

Nelson teachers take to picket lines on Day three of BCTF rotating strike schedule

Teachers and CUPE workers in Kootenay Lake School District 8 joined their counterparts throughout the province on the picket lines Wednesday during Day three of the BC Teachers’ Federation rotating strike schedule.

Schools throughout the district were closed as teachers traded classrooms for a spot on the picket line to put pressure on the government to bargain a fair deal.

“We’re just standing up for teachers to have the resources and classes that we need to deliver effective education,” Jeff Hammerich, a Learning Assistant for students from Kindergarten to Grade five said from outside Blewett Elementary Wednesday.

“I think education is really important for a society to develop well and I think it’s definitely worth financially supporting because in the long run it pays off to have educated, well-rounded citizens.”

CUPE Local 748 members joined Nelson and District Teachers on the picket lines to show support against the government.

The two sides in the labour dispute, the BCTF and the B.C. Public School Employers' Association, remain far apart.

Sticking points in the dispute continue to be pay, class size and classroom support.

Hammerich said the public needs to know teachers are not just standing up for the education system, teachers are also making a statement toward a government that isn’t listening to the public.

Teachers were also on the picket lines in the Boundary District 51 (Grand Forks/Midway).

Arrow Lakes (Nakusp/New Denver) and Kootenay-Columbia (Trail/Castlegar/Rossland/Fruitvale) School Districts 10 and 20 walked the lines Tuesday as part of the four-day province-wide strike scheduled announced last week by the BCTF.

In response to the strike, the government, beginning Monday, ocked out teachers 45 minutes before and after school as well as during recess and at lunch. 

Secondary school teachers they will be locked out on June 25 & 26 while elementary teachers and secondary teachers will then be locked out on June 27.

Teachers will also have 10 percent of their salaries deducted during the lockout. 

Some extracurricular activities, including field trips, have also been cancelled due to the strike.

Graduation ceremonies most likely will continue but not with the help of teachers.

“A lot of those people don’t have the information on the table,” Hammerich said when asked if the strike is hurting students.

“Yes, wages are a part of it . . . we want to have an increase to just keep up with inflation — and I think everybody deserves that all the way down to people working for minimum wage — but the first and foremost the thing we want is a better education system for the kids, better resources, better class size and composition which helps the kids have a better experience within a school.”