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BC teachers to begin rotating strikes next Monday

“As a result of the unwillingness of the provincial government and the BC Public School Employers’ Association to offer any improvements to class size, class compensation and other important learning conditions for students, as well as well as the employer’s unfair wage demands, teachers will begin rotating strikes on Monday, May 26, 2014,” The BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) said in a statement.

Some of BCTF demands include improvements to class size, class composition and staffing levels for specialist teachers. The BCTF also says teachers have twice won the right to negotiate their working conditions in BC Supreme Court, which in turn is also the students’ learning conditions.

The rotating strikes will begin Monday, May 26 and will continue through Thursday, May 29. All schools will be open Friday, May 30, while the extension of a strike “will depend on events at the bargaining table.”

BCTF says the rotating closures are part of a two-stage strike plan voted by teachers in March. During that vote, teachers gave their bargaining team a mandate to begin low-level job action and progress to rotating strikes if meaningful progress was not made in negotiations.

Over 29 thousand teachers cast ballots and nearly 90% voted in favour of the two-stage job action plan.

“With BC funding education $1,000 per student less than national average, British Columbians must take a strong stand and convince Christy Clark’s government to reinvest in our students,” BCTF President, Jim Iker said. “It is time for government to make education a funding priority.”

Strikes are taking place in Peace River South on Monday, May 26, while Fort Nelson will participate in strikes the following day, Tuesday, May 27. Peace River North will begin strikes on Wednesday, May 28.

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