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Victoria teachers to review bargaining, rally at legislature this afternoon

Greater Victoria teachers will gather Monday morning to review the framework of their bargaining with the B.C. Public School Employers' Association before they join with other south Vancouver Island public school teachers for a 1 p.m.
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Benula Larsen, president of the Greater Victoria Teachers Association: “We’re hoping that before Tuesday, something will happen at the bargaining table.”

Greater Victoria teachers will gather Monday morning to review the framework of their bargaining with the B.C. Public School Employers' Association before they join with other south Vancouver Island public school teachers for a 1 p.m. rally at the legislature.

Teachers from Victoria, Saanich and Sooke school districts will join with counterparts from Cowichan, Lake Cowichan and the Gulf Islands for the rally. Their message is to call on the government to bargain in good faith, said a news release.

Teachers, who have been taking part in rotating strikes, have said they’ll follow through with plans for a full walk-out on Tuesday if there’s no progress in negotiations between the B.C. Teachers' Federation and the employers' association, which represents the provincial government.

“We’re hoping that before Tuesday, something will happen at the bargaining table,” Benula Larsen, president of the Greater Victoria Teachers' Association, said on Sunday.

A walk-out could affect students writing provincial exams. A Labour Relations Board ruling has said teachers must be available to give exams and submit final Grade 12 marks.

Regular classes have been dismissed for the year but may resume if an agreement is reached.

The two sides were at the bargaining table until late Saturday and planned to continue talking today, said Larsen.

She said that teachers have been battling the government for 12 years “and now is not the time to buckle."