B.C. Teachers Federation President, Jim Iker made it official this morning and says the union is doing it because the system is under-funded.
“This week’s vote made it clear that B.C. teachers care deeply about the state of public education and their ability to meet the needs of all their students,” said Iker. “As well, it showed how firmly teachers are committed to doing what’s necessary to reach a fair deal.
Still, an email to members says bargaining will continue throughout the weekend and it’s possible a negotiated agreement could be reached to avert the province wide walkout.
The escalation in job action comes at a time when teacher’s wages have been cut by ten per cent and the BCTF has run out of strike pay.
Meantime, with nothing from the union to suggest otherwise, it’s assumed that earlier scheduled rotating strike action will continue today and tomorrow, with all three school districts in the Northeast impacted, Peace River South today and Peace River North and Fort Nelson tomorrow.
If this all plays out according to what’s now before us, this could be the final day of classes in the current school year in the local school district.
“In the interest of student safety, parents are asked not to bring students to schools until further notice,” a letter from the district reads.
Although, government exams for students in Grades 10 – 12 are scheduled to continue as planned.
“That’s why the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association applied last week to designate provincial exams and report cards for senior grads as an essential service,” Minister of Education, Peter Fassbender said. “We’re pleased to learn that last night the Labour Relations Board agreed that provincial exams are an essential service.
Fassbender’s comments are confirmed by the Superintendent of Peace River North, Dave Sloan.
“They’re (exams) scheduled at the appropriate time, student’s have those time and will show up, as far as we know to date, the regular processes will be in place,” says Sloan.
As for graduation, Sloan says while it’s a little early to be called, ceremonies are still scheduled to run as planned.