Friday, May 23, 2014

Opinion

Walkouts & Lockouts

Teachers struggle for deal, job action planned May 29

Staff/Voice file photo

 

Teachers rally against Bill 22 in June 2012 at Vedder and Luckakuck.

 

n June 2012, teachers hit the bricks protesting against Bill 22. Hard to believe, but two years later, the issues still havenít been resolved.

Once again, politics is clouding the issues and acting as the biggest hurdle in collective bargaining between teachers and the BC government. Students are just the pawns.  

 

The BCTF usually doesnít target secondary schools with job action, but on Monday, teachers around the province will be on strike at them for one day.

Chilliwack, CTA president Clint Johnston says they're targeting other places with job action as they move to "Stage Two" and that local teachers will be out on Thursday.

"We will be picketing every School District worksite. This includes schools, the Board office, and works yards. The pickets will be up before the first scheduled workers arrive and will be up until past the start of the last workers shift," he said in an e-mail to the Voice Wednesday.

The postulating on both sides amounts to nothing and accomplishes nothing in terms resolving issues and coming up with a collective agreement.

BC Education Minister Peter Fassbender has declared a partial lockout June 26th at secondary schools and June 27th at all schools if a contract agreement hasnít been reached by then.

Fassbender also said that the salaried striking teachers may be docked 10 per cent of their pay for time missed in class, but the Labour Relations Board may not allow that to happen.

Tim Iker, president of the BC Teacherís Federation says a lockout then may jeopardize teachersí ability to mark final exams.

The Liberals tabled a 10-year deal just prior to the last election. The BCTF took them to the Supreme Court over it ó twice. In both cases, they came away with rulings in their favour.

The government responded with some shiny baubles; a 6-year deal and a $1200 singing bonus. However, they wouldnít budge on the issues of class size and composition, or a 7 per cent wage hike.

"Class sizes are not unreasonable here or in other parts of BC,Ē Fassbender told reporters in Victoria on Wednesday.

Are teachers out to lunch demanding a 10 per cent wage hike? In 2009, MLAs voted in favour of giving themselves a 36 per cent wage increase which topped up their salaries to $101k/year.

So, how do you obtain labour peace when you have these two incessantly warring factions?

 

Some feel that a collective agreement wonít even be reached by the next year school year. A mediator has worked with negotiations in the past. If they bring in an arbitrator, that person has the power to order parties to come up with a collective agreement.

 

At this rate, with all the dichotomy between the two parties, it'll take another two years for parties to sign-off on some kind of an agreement ó maybe, and these public skirmishes are just pure politics.
 


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