Kimberley teachers begin job action

Phase 1, administrative job action began today in Kimberley schools

Kimberley’s teachers, along with their BCTF colleagues across the province, began Phase 1 job action today.

The job action comes after teachers rejected the latest offer from the B.C. Public Schools Employers Association, an offer BCTF president Jim Iker called “lowball”.

Teachers voted 89 per cent in March to endorse a three-stage strike plan.

The first phase, which began today, should have no affect on students, says Sally Struthers of the Kimberley Teachers Association.

“Phase 1 is administrative in nature,” she said. “Teachers will do no mandated supervision outside of the classroom. That means no supervision at noon hour, recess or before and after classes. Teachers won’t attend meetings with administration or provide or receive written communication.”

Struthers explained that teachers would still speak to administrators if they wanted a one on one conversation.

Teachers are also limiting time spent at school. They won’t arrive at school more than an hour before classes or stay an hour later than classes end.

But teachers are still performing voluntary duties such as coaching. In that case, if coaching requires staying longer than an hour after instruction, teachers will do so, Struthers says.

“This will have minimal impact on students and parents,” she said. “We will continue to teach, write report cards and meet with parents.”

Phase 2 of the job action would see rotating strikes across the province, one day a week.

Struthers says there is on timeline on when the job action may ramp up to Phase 2, but teachers are prepared to do what they must to get to a negotiated settlement.

“Teachers are prepared to do what needs to be done if the government doesn’t bring something to the table. We are still $1000 per student below the national average for funding, and the government is still asking for concessions.”

Phase 3 of job action involves a full-scale strike and would require a second vote by BCTF members.