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Posted: June 6, 2014

Third round of rotating strikes loom

With the possibility of a full-blown strike looming, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) yesterday released its schedule for rotating strikes entering week three.

BCTF President Jim Iker says a full-scale teachers’ strike could be possible within the next two weeks. Teachers will take a strike vote on Monday, June 9 and Tuesday, June 10 to get a mandate for any escalated job action.

Meanwhile, East Kootenay parents of school-aged children should know that next Wednesday and Thursday will mean another day of ‘no classes.’

School District No. 6 (Rocky Mountain) teachers will be on strike Wednesday, June 11 and teachers in School District No. 5 (Southeast Kootenay) will be back on the picket line Thursday, June 12.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender released the following statement in response to the BCTF decision to possibly escalate their job action to a full strike:

“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. 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.

“Teachers deserve a raise but the parties are very far apart on wages and benefits. Right now, their total compensation demands are still about four times more than the settlements reached at other tables.

“BCPSEA has a fair wage offer on the table, one that’s in line with recent agreements covering nearly 116,000 public sector workers.  The offer also includes a special $1,200 signing bonus if we reach agreement before the end of June.

“Class size and composition are also on table and need to benegotiated.

“A full strike is only going to keep more students out of their classrooms, create more disruption for parents, while teachers and support workers caught in the middle will lose even more in wages. There is no bottomless pit of money, and the rotating strikes are certainly not going to help teachers’ and support workers’ pocketbooks.

“We want this resolved before the start of the next school year and BCPSEA is prepared to bargain 24/7, right through the summer,” Fassbender stated.

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