Minister’s statement on BCTF strike

Provincial Education Minister George Abbott speaks on current teachers' job action issue

  • Mar. 1, 2012 2:00 p.m.

VICTORIA – Education Minister George Abbott today released a statement

regarding the decision by the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation to

hold a three-day strike.

“We are truly disappointed by the union’s decision to hold a three-day

strike beginning next week. A strike of this nature will significantly

disrupt student learning and creates tremendous concern for parents and

families.

“The union is in a legal strike position. Under the order from the Labour

Relations Board, they are able to fully withdraw for three days, but the

order is clear that schools are not to be picketed.

“Parents are encouraged to find child-care arrangements for Monday,

Tuesday and Wednesday. However, for parents unable to secure alternate

arrangements, all public schools will be open and students will be cared

for and supervised.

“Schools will be staffed by non-unionized school and district personnel.

Given the LRB order preventing schools from being picketed, we also

expect all unionized school support staff, such as education assistants,

to be present as well. While there will be no instructional time, all

staff will ensure students are supervised in a safe environment.

“Further, school-based child-care services, such as pre-school and after-

school care, are not affected by the strike.

“Bill 22 is an important and complex piece of legislation that demands

careful debate and full understanding by all members of the legislature.

“Bill 22 sets a cooling-off period and suspends the teachers’ union

strike action while calling on the assistance of a mediator. It also

implements the $165-million Learning Improvement Fund and other measures

that will play a fundamental role in the future of education in our

province.

“I understand that emotions are running high, and we do not want to

inflame the situation by acting precipitously and rushing through the

legislation.

“We have been working very hard and have put numerous opportunities in

front of the union to try to work through the difficult issues that

confront us during a time of collective bargaining.

“It’s unfortunate that rhetoric and name-calling has overtaken a

thoughtful and constructive approach to resolving the impasse through

mediation. When mediation begins in the near future, I hope the

discussion will unfold in a respectful way.”

Contact:

Government Communications and Public Engagement

Ministry of Education

250 356-5963

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect