REPORTING · 11th June 2014
Teachers have voted and have given their mandate to the British Columbia Teacher’s Federation. In a press conference on Tuesday evening, June 10th, Jim Ilker, BCTF President announced that teachers have voted to increase job action.
“A total of 28,809 teachers voted yes in this week’s province wide vote. In all, 33,387 teachers cast ballots in which 86% voted yes. This is one of the highest turnouts we ever had in BCTF History,” said Ilker.
He expressed teachers were ready to withdraw services and go on a full scale strike. The BCTF will not make the decision lightly to go on strike lightly. Rotating strikes will continue and if the escalation occurs, the BCTF will provide 3 days working notice to the government. Further information on when this will happen is coming.
“This means there are several days left until movement to the next stage. That gives both sides a small and important window to reassess their proposals, to reach a settlement, avoid a possible full scale strike and end the governments lock out. It can be done, we have the will, does government?” asked Ilker.
He stated that government deal strips class size restrictions and composition guarantees which the BC Supreme Court has ruled were illegally striped from their collective agreements. The government is also offering two more years with no increase to pay.
“We need a fair deal, but we also need better working, and learning conditions,” said Ilker.
He thanked the teachers for standing up and advocating for their students, thanked the parents for their support and understanding this is about quality education and fairness for teachers. He asked people to contact their MLA’s to demand change from the BC Government.
“There is no reason, except for the lack of political will, why a Province as rich as British Columbia, should be funding education $1000 below the national average, the second worst record in all Canadian Provinces. It’s time to change that. It’s time to bring BC to at least the National Average, if not better, in their student funding,” said Ilker.
He stated the walkout could be avoided if the government returns to the table with an open mind and a commitment to reinvest in the public education system.
“For us, it’s not about moving to another stage, it’s never been about moving to another stage of action, it’s always about trying to put pressure on the government, putting as minimal pressure on our parents and students,” said Ilker.
He expressed they want a deal in place by the end of June so the teachers can go into the summer knowing they have certainty for their students.