Teachers vote yes to strike

Kinnaird Elementary School in Castlegar. - Craig Lindsay
Kinnaird Elementary School in Castlegar.
— image credit: Craig Lindsay

Teachers across B.C. have voted unanimously to go on strike next week starting Monday. On Tuesday the Labour Relations Board ruled that the B.C. Teachers Federation (BCTF) could go on strike for three days after giving two days notice. That same day, Minister of Education George Abbott introduced legislation that would make any teacher strike action illegal. That legislation likely won't be passed until next week at the earliest.

A press release on the BCTF website said:

members of the BC Teachers’ Federation have voted overwhelmingly to resist the unjust actions of the provincial government in yet again moving to impose a contract on the province’s 41,000 public school teachers.

A total of 27,946 teachers voted yes in a province-wide vote conducted February 28 and 29, 2012. In all, 32,209 teachers cast ballots, of whom 87% voted yes.

“Teachers are determined and united in their opposition to Bill 22 and to the bullying tactics of a provincial government that has deliberately underfunded public education for a decade,” said Susan Lambert, president of the BC Teachers’ Federation.

Bill 22, tabled yesterday in the Legislature, seeks to impose a net-zero contract, to restrict the ability to negotiate improved learning conditions, and to eliminate fundamental civil and labour rights for teachers.

“The results of our province-wide vote are strong evidence of the unity and determination of BCTF members in rejecting this government’s provocative and damaging legislation,” Lambert said.

BCTF Executive Committee members will meet Thursday to review the vote results and discuss the next steps in the job action.


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