Today marks the second day of rotating strikes by B.C. teachers with picket lines going up in another 15 school districts.
The strikes will hit districts as far apart as Alberni in the west, the Kootenay-Columbia in the east and Fort Nelson in the north.
FULL LIST OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS AFFECTED:
Yesterday, on the first day of the rotating strikes, the BCTF and its employer went back to the bargaining table.
BC Teachers’ Federation president Jim Iker says they had “respectful dialogue” with the government on Monday, but says the two parties are still far apart, and there has been no movement yet.
“There’s been an unwillingness by this government so far to move on critical issues such as smaller class size, class composition guarantees and minimal levels of specialist teachers,” says Iker.
B.C.’s minister of education Peter Fassbender says there are significant differences of opinion between the government and teachers on these issues.
“We are willing to talk about those issues, but I think we need to get over strike action and get to the table, get a negotiated settlement, and then sit down and start talking about the future of education,” says Fassbender.
The BCTF and provincial government will be back at the bargaining table today.
Iker says no decision has been made about whether the rotating strikes will continue next week. That decision is expected to be made tomorrow.
“It will be based on the progress at the bargaining table. We need to know there’s some substantive progress happening,” he says.
The rotating strikes will affect every school district in the province and are expected to last until Thursday, May 29.
In response to the job action, the province says it plans to start cutting teachers’ pay by 10 per cent. A secondary school lockout will also be in effect for June 25 and 26 with a general lockout happening on June 27.