Kimberley teachers and CUPE members in support walk the picket line in front of McKim School Monday morning.

Kimberley teachers and CUPE members in support walk the picket line in front of McKim School Monday morning.

Kimberley teachers on the picket line

Schools closed as teachers begin one-day strikes, SD6 one of the first districts

Kimberley students are not in the classroom Monday morning as Rocky Mountain School District 6 was one of the first to be hit with rotating strikes by the B.C. Teachers Federation. The strikes will roll across the province this week — a one day job action by teachers frustrated by being unable to reach a deal on contraction negotiations. School support staff, members of CUPE, also stood on the line with Kimberley teachers Monday morning.

But this may not be the end of it as the BCTF has not ruled out further job action next week.

The issues are pay, classroom support and class size. BCTF president Jim Iker says  B.C. teachers are the second-lowest paid in the country after P.E.I.

However, the Minister of Education, Peter Fassbender, was not taking a conciliatory line on the strike Monday morning, saying it is always students and parents who bear the greatest brunt when the BCTF orders teachers to walk out.

The BC Pubic School Employers Association (BCPSEA), which negotiates on behalf of the government, had offered a $1200 signing bonus and a six-year deal rather than a ten, to get agreement by the end of June.

“When BCPSEA tabled those incentives, they asked the BCTF if they were willing to put on hold their stage 1 strike,” Fassbender said. “The BCTF refused. When it was made clear that if the union continued with its partial withdrawal of services, BCPSEA would need to respond with a corresponding reduction in teachers’ pay.

“Not only did the union refuse to stand down from its stage 1 strike, a few days later they dismissed the significant moves that BCPSEA made at the table, and informed students and parents that they would shut down schools through rotating strikes.”

However, Fassbender did say that BCPSEA stood ready to negotiate at any time but that a fair offer was on the table.

“The BCTF leadership is asking for a pay increase and other benefits that are more than four times what other public sector unions have recently settled for and their total demands are well beyond what taxpayers can afford. That remains a key stumbling  block to meaningful bargaining.”

The BCTF has said there may be more strikes next week and the government said teachers risk 10 per cent salary cuts if the job action continues.

Negotiations are scheduled to resume this afternoon.


Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Kimberley residents were treated to the first Farmers' Market of the season, and the feeling of a return to normalcy. Paul Rodgers photos.
WATCH: Kimberley’s first Farmers’ Market of the season

Kimberley residents enjoyed the first Farmers’ Market of the year on Thursday,… Continue reading

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read