VANCOUVER – The B.C. government has said they will now lift the lockout for teachers for summer school if a deal is not reached between the BC Teachers’ Federation and the government by the end of the school year.
There was some confusion as to whether the current job action would affect summer school and camps.
If a deal is not reached however, there could still be picket lines outside summer schools.
Teachers started voting today on whether or not to launch a full-scale walkout, essentially shutting down B.C.’s public schools by next Monday.
The possible escalation comes just one day after the government reached a tentative deal with school support staff.
Teachers have been engaged in rotating strikes for several weeks now.
Experts say today’s vote may not result in a full-scale strike, but could be channeled into more pressure at the bargaining table.
The parties have appeared consistently divided over wages and whether classroom size and composition has a place in contract negotiations.
The union says it’s asking for a 9.75 per cent wage increase over four years, but the government calculates that including cost of living increases and other benefits the demand is closer to 19 per cent.
The government’s bargaining arm has offered 7.3 per cent over six years, along with a $1,200 signing bonus if the deal is made before the end of the school year.
In a poll commissioned by Global News today, results found that nearly half of B.C. adults who have children in school support teachers in the ongoing labour dispute.
Twenty-five per cent support the B.C. government and 24 per cent support neither side.
Overall, slightly more British Columbians support teachers (44 per cent) than government (31 per cent) with 22 per cent supporting neither side.