Today’s Poll

Picket signs back up in Kootenay Lake School District Thursday; teachers vote on full scale walkout next week

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
June 5th, 2014

Kootenay Lake School District 8 students will not be attending school Thursday as teachers and CUPE staff hit the picket line for the second round of BC Teachers’ Federation rotating strike schedule.

The rotating strike schedule may turn into a full scale walkout as teachers participate in a strike vote on Monday (June 9) and Tuesday (June 10) to see if the 41,000 members want to turn up the heat on the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) and government.

BCTF president Jim Iker said the 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,” said Iker said in a statement on the BCTF website.

“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.”

Earlier this week, the union announced it was reducing its wage proposal from a 15.9 per cent increase over four years to roughly 14 per cent over four years.

However, the proposal still includes increases for the cost of living.

The government is offering 7.25 per cent over six years plus $1,200 signing bonus.

“While we are disappointed with the BCTF’s plans to escalate to a full walkout, this in no way changes our resolve to get an agreement by the end of June,” said Education Minister Peter Fassbender.

“Our goal remains a lasting, negotiated settlement that ends the disruption for parents, students and teachers and puts the system on a path to stability before the start of the next school year.”

The decision to escalate job action came soon after the Labour Relations Board ruled in favour of the province in its bid to dock teachers 10 per cent of their pay during the rotating strikes.

The union argued to the board government in Labour Board approval to before docking teacher wages 10 percent.

But the board ruled Wednesday afternoon that it was siding the BCPSEA, the bargaining arm for the government.

“Instead of focusing on solutions in the last two weeks, the government moved ahead with its ill-conceived and chaotic lockout. Even before today’s LRB ruling, the BCTF Executive Committee met to discuss next steps,” Iker said.

 “We decided last night that the time has come to apply even more pressure to the negotiating table to get a fair deal and better support for students.”

There were no rotating strikes Wednesday. However, there were some students that took to the streets as part of a province-wide student lockout.

The second round of the BCTF rotating strikes conclude Friday.

Categories: Education

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