BC teachers overwhelmingly support job action

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Teachers in BC have given their union overwhelming support for potential job action, according to numbers released this morning from the BC Teacher's Federation.

Of the 28,128 teachers who cast their ballot during a strike vote conducted June 24, 27 and 28, with 25,282 of those voting in favour of strike action. That equates to 90 per cent of those who voted being in favour of job action and 70 per cent of teachers in schools and on-call casting their vote.

At issue in the upcoming negotiations in improved teaching and learning condition, improvements to salary and benefits and the restoration of local bargaining rights.

“Teachers take this action very reluctantly but, after a decade of cuts, we are determined to achieve improvements to teaching and learning conditions in BC schools,” said Susan Lambert, president of the BC Teachers’ Federation.

“The government and the employer are offering nothing to teachers and at the same time demanding much from us in terms of massive concessions and trade-offs. For example, they have tabled proposals which would eliminate transparency and fairness in hiring practices. We know that every collective agreement involves compromise, but this is unacceptable.”

Should the need for job action arise Lambert said the first phase, which would see the teachers continuing to teach but not doing any administrative work, would begin on September 6, 2011, which is the first day of the 2011/2012 school year.

“I want to reassure parents that their children's teachers will be focused on excellence in our classrooms. Because we won't be doing all the many bureaucratic and administrative tasks that have been added onto our jobs, we'll have more time to teach, to offer individual attention to students, and to keep in close communication with parents,” Lambert said.

“We’re looking forward to a year of joyful teaching and learning, without the distractions of ‘administrivia’ that can take so much time and energy away from what we love to do best—teaching.”

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