April 22, 2014 8:31 pm

How will the first stage of teachers’ job action affect your children?

VANCOUVER – B.C. teachers will begin their limited job action on Wednesday after issuing 72 hours strike notice last week.

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) says there has been little progress in bargaining talks with the government and that is why they are starting low-level job action.

During Stage 1 job action teachers will not:

  • Undertake any mandated supervision of students outside of regularly scheduled classes, except as set out by an essential services order.
  • Attend any meetings with management other than meetings of the worksite Joint Health and Safety Committee.
  • Provide principals or administrators with any routine printed, written, or electronic communication.
  • Receive any printed, written, or electronic communication from an administrator.
  • Be at a worksite prior to one hour before commencement of instructional time and one hour after the end of instructional time, other than for pre-arranged voluntary activities.

Teachers will also no longer be supervising recess, and on Twitter Tuesday afternoon the BCTF tweeted that means some school districts will be cancelling recess.

In some districts however, teachers do not supervise recess so it will not affect those schools.

“Well I think any parent, when they see any type of job action in our schools, will be upset that we have not been able to find a solution,” said Education Minister Peter Fassbender. “So I would expect that we’ll all get some feedback if it does get to [stage two] but I sincerely hope it doesn’t.”

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Stage two of strike action would mean rotating strikes – a one day closure of schools in districts around the province. It is not known when job action could escalate.

“If we have to go to stage two, what rotating strikes mean is that there will be one school closure day per week across this province,” said Jim Iker, president of the BCTF. “So schools will be open for four days a week and schools will be closed one day. And that will affect every district around the province.”

Talks between both sides are still taking place, however they are far apart on a few issues. The BCTF is looking for a wage increase of more than 13 per cent over three years, while the government is willing to offer about seven per cent over six years. They are also far apart on how to solve the class organization and composition issues.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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