UPDATE: B.C. teachers vote in favour of strike action, bring offer to negotiation table

Watch: BCTF President Jim Iker reveals results of the vote

B.C. teachers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of job action, but BC Teachers’ Federation President Jim Iker says there will be no immediate job action. 

Iker revealed the results of teachers’ vote Thursday night, saying 26,051 teachers voted “yes” to job action. A total of 29,301 teachers cast their ballots.

“We do not consider job action unless it is absolutely necessary,” said Iker. “We called this vote because after a year of bargaining, the table needed pressure.”

Iker says the government tabled what they consider an ‘insulting’ initial wage proposal that included up to an addition two years of no wage increase.

He reiterated the teachers are asking for smaller class size, more one-on-one time with students, and extra help for those who need it.

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“With this vote, BC teachers have sent a very clear message to our government, it’s time to negotiate in good faith, take back the unreasonable proposals, and offer teachers a fair deal that offers better support for our students,” said Iker.

Iker says the teachers will only commence job action if there is no progress at the bargaining table. He says any initial action will not include immediate school closures or disruptions to students.

“Any initial job action will be administrative in nature and have no impact on our students’ learning.”

The results of the vote come in the wake of a leaked memo outlining the BC Teachers Federation strike options.

The document appears to show three phases of job action. It begins with limiting communication between teachers and school administrators. Rotating strikes would be in phase two, potentially escalating to a full walkout.

The BCTF says it did not write the memo, and that going on strike is not the goal.

Tonight on Unfiltered, Education Minister Peter Fassbender said they now have an idea of what the impact of the teachers’ demands will be on taxpayers.

“The BCTF brought the offer that they wanted to lay on the table this afternoon. Prior to that, we did not know the full extent of what they were asking for,” says Fassbender. “Based on the information I was given, what they are asking for is significantly higher than what other public sector unions have settled for.”

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