B.C.’s striking teachers could be asked to vote on whether to continue their job action if the ongoing dispute with the provincial government looks like it will continue indefinitely, their union says.
The B.C. Teachers’ Federation isn’t obliged to ask its membership whether it wants to continue the strike, which began June 17 and continued Tuesday on what should have been the first day of the school year.
But union vice-president Glen Hansman said the 41,000 striking teachers could be asked to weigh in on the future of job action if a stalemate with the provincial government shows no sign of ending.
“We may decide to do that depending on where things are at,” Hansman said Tuesday.
“I think it will be really dependent on how things unfold over the next few days. If we aren’t getting the employer’s bargaining team to the table, or if they do come to the table and they are being obstinate about their E80 proposal (a government proposal the BCTF says would nullify recent court victories on bargaining) then we’re going to have some decisions to make, and those decisions could take a variety of forms.”
The union will also gauge teacher opinions during study sessions planned in local school districts across the province this week.
In March, BCTF members voted 89 per cent in favour of strike action.
The financial toll on teachers since then has been substantial. The average teacher has lost approximately $5,000 to $6,000 in salary due to the strike, which has so far cancelled 14 days of school in June and shows little sign of abating in September.
Negotiations broke down over the weekend after mediator Vince Ready declared both sides too far apart on key issues. No new talks are scheduled.
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