B.C. teachers defend education
Currently, the 41,000 members of the BC Teachers Federation (BCTF) are locked in a bitter collective bargaining dispute with the provincial Liberal government. On the table is a two-year salary freeze that the government is seeking to impose and the right to bargain, class sizes and other aspects of teachers’ work in the classroom.
The first action took place at the beginning of the school year, last September, when teachers refused to participate in voluntary activities and co-operate with administrators, including filling out report cards. When the government announced it would impose a draconian law to strip away the right to strike and send disputed issues to a skewed mediation process, teacher resistance escalated into a three-day strike March 5 to 7.
Regardless, Bill 22 was passed into law on March 17. It says “mediation” must correspond to the government’s guideline of a two-year, “net zero” increase to education spending. It also imposes stiff penalties on the union and individual teachers for strikes and related actions.