Kimberley students will be out of school one day again next week as rotating strikes by the BC Teachers Federation roll on.
Wednesday, June 11 is the day chosen by the BCTF for the Rocky Mountain School District, so parents will have to make alternate child care arrangements on that date.
Friday was a busy day on the picket lines for Kimberley teachers as they took part in the second week of rotating strikes. Those on the line at McKim received a supporting visit from Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald, who taught at McKim himself 24 years ago.
“It is obvious that this government has an agenda on public education,” Macdonald said.
Down at Maryville Elementary, teachers and CUPE support workers were joined by Jim Sinclair and BC Federation of Labour delegates for a noon time rally.
BCFL representatives were attending a regional labour conference at the Kimberley Conference Centre.
Teachers will vote Monday and Tuesday on whether to escalate job action after the Labour Relations Board ruled last week that the 10 per cent pay cut imposed by the employer was legal.
BC Teachers Federation President Jim Iker said Friday that the union’s strike fund was getting low on cash. Union members are currently paid $50 for each strike day, but the fund is expected to dry up before too much longer.
However, Iker said he didn’t believe that would affect the vote this week, which he expects teachers will overwhelmingly support.
Meanwhile Education Minister Peter Fassbender promised that full-scale strike or not, final exams will be delivered and marked for graduating students, although he has not yet outlined how that would be accomplished.
There has been some movement in bargaining although not enough to stop the job action.
The latest BCTF wage proposal is a total increase of 9.75 per cent over four years, plus cost-of-living adjustments in each year depending on inflation. The BCTF has estimated that with inflation, the total increase would be 12.75 per cent.
The B.C. Public School Employers’ Association, representing the province’s 60 school districts, has proposed a 7.5 per cent wage increase over six years, and recently added a $1,200 signing bonus for an agreement by the end of the school year.
With files from Tom Fletcher Black Press