Teachers Laurel McEachnie (front left) and Kristen Dion (right) walk the picket line at Alexis Park Elementary School Wednesday with Denise Lauson (back left) and Louise Alexander.

BCTF revises demand in talks to ward off full strike

Poll finds support for smaller classes, but not a pay hike for teachers that exceeds deals for other unions

The B.C. Teachers Federation says it’s presenting a revised demand to provincial government representatives in talks that are expected to run through the weekend in an effort to avert a full-scale strike next week.

The union issued 72-hour strike notice this week and said teachers will hold study sessions Monday followed by a full walkout starting Tuesday unless a deal is reached.

Asked if the province is also revising its offer to the teachers, a representative of the B.C. Public School Employers Association only said that “bargaining is ongoing and everyone is focused on trying to reach a negotiated agreement.”

BCTF spokesman Rich Overgaard called it a “fluid” situation with both sides focused on reaching an agreement.

The Labour Relations Board on Thursday expanded the designation of essential services to include the supervision of Grade 10 to 12 provincial exams from June 16 to 24 and the completion and submission of final grades for Grade 12 students by June 20.

It also covers testing and designation of special needs students.

A new online poll by Insights West, meanwhile, suggests more people are siding with the teachers in the dispute.

The survey found 42 per cent of B.C. residents think the BCTF is being reasonable, while 32 per cent felt that way about the government.

Insights West Poll

Sixty per cent of those polled said class sizes in public schools need to be smaller.

But an even stronger majority – 65 per cent – said teachers should get the same salary increase as other B.C. unions. Just 16 per cent agreed the teachers should get more.

More than half (58 per cent) said balancing the budget should take precedence over raising salaries for government workers.

“Most parents with children enrolled in public schools have emerged from the last two weeks with disappointment,” said Insights West vice-president Mario Canseco.

“Parents who have children in public schools are decidedly supportive of the teachers and the BCTF, in spite of the inconvenience that the dispute has brought to their daily lives. Only 14 per cent of parents side with the government, while 43 per cent remain sympathetic with the teachers and BCTF.”

Just Posted

Castlegar athletes excel at 55+ Games

Castlegar residents bring home 28 individual medals and six team medals.

Castlegar Rebels split weekend opener

Rebels opened KIJHL regular season with a win over Grand Forks and a loss against Spokane.

Disability employment awareness month: open house and inclusive employer award

Events take place in Nelson and Castlegar this week

Kootenay author to launch memoir at Castlegar library

D.M. Ditson will share intimate memoir about sexual assault, PTSD and recovery.

LETTERS: On trails, environment, fall fair

Castlegar News letters to the editor for this week

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Canucks sign Brock Boeser to three-year, US$17.6-million deal

Young sniper will be in Vancouver Tuesday

B.C. forest industry looks to a high-technology future

Restructuring similar to Europe 15 years ago, executive says

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

B.C. wants to be part of global resolution in opioid company bankruptcy claim

Government says settlement must include Canadian claims for devastation created by overdose crisis

U.S. student, killed in Bamfield bus crash, remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

Driver of RV in Hosmer collision reported in stable condition

Collision occurred in Hosmer on September 5 and involved a semi truck, an RV and a school bus

Free Tesla 3 offered with purchase of Surrey townhome

Century Group’s offer for Viridian development runs through Oct. 31

Most Read