Teachers' labour dispute leads to "teach-only" job action
The school year is off to a chippy start, as B.C. teachers launch a teach-only job action to deal with an ongoing labour dispute. Teachers say they will be holding classes and dealing with new student registrations, but will not be meeting with principals or supervising students during recess. Some schools are reportedly cutting out the recess time to deal with the lack of supervision.
Education Minister George Abbott said in a news release to parents over the weekend that the school year is starting off under a "cloud".
“While I am disappointed at the timing, the BCTF president has assured me the pending job action won’t affect student learning and that teachers will continue to focus on students in the classroom.”
Primary causes of the dispute include:
- The restoration of class-size limits (the limits were stripped in 2002, causing an overall increase in class sizes)
- Guarantees of services to students with special needs.
- Increase in wages (the maximum salary for a Vancouver teacher is reportedly $20,000 less than that of a Calgary teacher)
Teachers voted 90 per cent to strike in late June after the province refused to budge on its net-zero mandate, which means that if teachers are to get the wage increases they demand, they need to give up something to make up for the cost.
Susan Lambert, president of the BC Teachers' Federation, commented that the "net-zero" approach is unacceptable.
"If the Premier is serious about her ‘Families First’ agenda, she cannot say there is no money for public education," she said. "It’s the single most important service to the health and well-being of the province’s children.”