B.C. teachers escalate job action, move on to rotating strikes

WATCH: As Keith Baldrey reports, on Monday if no meaningful progress is reached at the bargaining table, the BCTF will begin rotating strikes.

B.C. teachers are escalating their strike action.

President of the B.C. Teachers Federation Jim Iker announced the teachers are entering Stage 2 of the strike process, which will include 4 days of rotating strikes beginning Monday, May 26.

All schools will be open again on Friday, May 30, according to Iker.

The rotating strikes will affect districts across the province.

WATCH: BCTF President Jim Iker announces the rotating strikes

The closures are part of a two-stage strike plan voted on by teachers in March.

Story continues below advertisement

“My priority remains a fairly negotiated settlement,” said Iker. “It is time for this government to reinvest in education, that is why B.C. teachers are taking a stand.”

Last week, the B.C. government threatened to cut teacher’ salaries if the ongoing labour dispute did not come to an end soon.

At the same time, they also offered all teachers a $1,200 bonus if a new collective bargaining agreement is reached before the end of the school year.

A day before, the Minister of Education announced the government would be offering a six-year proposal instead of the original 10-year deal.

Phase One of the strike was rolled out last month and involved teachers not meeting or communicating with school administrators.

WATCH MORE: Parents weigh in on the BCTF job action

The full list of school districts to be affected by rotating strikes: 


Government responds

Two hours after the BCTF made their announcement, Education Minister Peter Fassbender said the government was “disappointed”, but was still committed to negotiating.

Story continues below advertisement

“We had made a significant move last week to show we wanted a negotiated settlement, we worked hard to do that. Unfortunately, the announcement today says the BCTF feels that disrupting classrooms, affecting children and their families is going to help to reach a settlement,” he said.

He also criticized the BCTF for not moving off their wage increase demands of 15.9 per cent over four years. The government is currently offering 6.5 per cent over six years.

“That is way out of line with other public sector unions,” said Fassbender. “We think the BCTF, on behalf of the taxpayers, have to be realistic as well.”

WATCH: Education Minister Peter Fassbender responds to the BCTF announcing rotating strikes

Global’s Legislative Bureau Chief Keith Baldrey says there’s a risk the negotiations could drag in to the next school year.

“Given the snail’s pace of progress at the table from both sides, there’s no reason to think rotating strikes are going to have a lot of impact on the bargaining process,” says Baldrey.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’ll be interesting to see if the BCTF have any more rotating strikes before the end of the school year. But time is running out this school year.”