BCTF rotating strikes hit area schools Tuesday & Wednesday

Bruce Fuhr
By Bruce Fuhr
May 27th, 2014

Day two of the BC Teachers’ Federation rotating strike schedule Tuesday sees picket signs outside public elementary and high schools in Arrow Lakes (Nakusp/New Denver) and Kootenay-Columbia (Trail/Castlegar/Rossland/Fruitvale) School Districts 10 and 20, respectively.

Teachers in Kootenay Lake School District 8 (Nelson/Creston) and Boundary District 51 (Grand Forks/Midway) trade pencils for picket signs on Day three (Wednesday) when they join 40,000 of their colleagues.

“Wednesday will see teachers out picketing at every school in the district,” Nelson and District Teachers Association President Paul Boscariol told The Nelson Daily.

“We may also be handing out information sheets to parents or members of the general public.”

Boscariol said this is a stressful time for his members. But the teachers are committed to begin job action to get a fair deal at the bargaining table.

“Anytime there is job action the stress level begins to climb,” Boscariol explained. “Teachers are very committed to their work and do not take job action lightly.”

The two sides in the standoff, 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.

“NDTA members are very frustrated with the lack of significant progress at the bargaining table,” Boscariol said.

“It has been 16 months since bargaining began (and) one would have expected some progress,” he adds. “The government remains entrenched in their position. The most recent development with the lockout has completely shocked the teachers.”

Boscariol said beginning Monday, teachers across the province are being locked out 45 minutes before and after school as well as during recess and at lunch. 

Teachers will be required to leave the premises, as employees are not permitted on the premises during a lockout.

Boscariol said the government has also told 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. 

“This is an attempt by the government to divide teachers but it will strengthen our resolve,” Boscariol said.

He added teachers would have 10 percent of their salaries deducted during the lockout. 

“The lockout provisions will likely affect day trips and extended field trips as teachers will be locked out during those times and will not be able to supervise students,” Boscariol said.

“The schools and or district will have to address those concerns.”

Also affected in this dispute are CUPE workers. CUPE Local 748 represents all employees in the School District No. 8 except teachers and excluded management positions.

School District No. 8 stretches from Yahk in the east to Slocan City in the west, Salmo in the south and Meadow Creek in the north.

Kootenay Lake Superintendent of Schools/CEO, Jeff Jones is attempting to keep parents and students informed during the labour dispute.

Jones recently put out a letter from the Ministry of Education that is intended to clarify some of the uncertainties during the dispute.

As for the all-important grad ceremonies for Grade 12 students, Boscariol felt the events in all schools in the district would proceed without the help of teachers.

“I am going to assume grad ceremonies will take place as always,” he said. “Teachers won’t be involved in the organizing or setup of the ceremonies but may be in attendance to see their students graduate.”

The grad ceremony schedule for Kootenay Lake is on the website.

This post was syndicated from https://thenelsondaily.com
Categories: Education