B.C. teachers taking strike vote next week

B.C. teachers will cast ballots next week in a strike vote, but if job action happens it will be a phased-in process, according to Comox District Teachers' Association president Steve Stanley.

The BC Teachers' Federation announced the strike vote will be held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with results announced Thursday evening. If teachers vote in favour of a strike, the union has 90 days to start some sort of job action.

Stanley said if job action is taken, it would not affect student learning initially.

"The first stage … would be just where we don't do staff meetings, and those kinds of things, where we take away some services, but they don't impact … students at all, and we'll continue to do report cards and coaching extracurricular activities and those kinds of things," Stanley explained.

This stage could last a month, but it's hard to say, he added.

"The plan that we have right now calls for the second stage to be rotating strikes so there could be minor disruptions to different parts of the province on different days," continued Stanley.

"Before we went to the third stage or a full closure of the whole school district across the province, that would require another vote — so there would have to be another strike vote before we went on a full strike."

According to the BCTF, the BC Public School Employers' Association has tabled "unreasonable" proposals that include new language that again removes class size, composition and staffing levels from the contract.

The BCTF also says the proposed salary increases are less than the 3.5 to four per cent other public sector workers have received under the government's "co-operative gains mandate."

The current round of bargaining talks with teachers has been going on for a year, with more than 40 sessions at the bargaining table.


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