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North Okanagan-Shuswap teachers to strike May 27

Elementary and Middle School students will be dismissed 15 minutes early after teachers
Elementary and Middle School students will be dismissed 15 minutes early after teachers' job action means cuts to supervision. The school district has cancelled recess in response.
— image credit: Observer file photo

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation plans to start one-day rotating strikes at schools around the province, rejecting the offer of a $1,200 signing bonus for an agreement by the end of the school year.

In the North Okanagan-Shuswap school district, Tuesday, May 27 has been designated for the one-day strike.

BCTF president Jim Iker said Tuesday the bonus doesn’t make up for the government’s wage offer of 6.5 per cent over six years. A simultaneous threat to cut teacher wages five per cent or more because of strike action is “just so disrespectful, so unnecessary, and we’ll be dealing with it at the Labour Relations Board,” Iker said.

Unless there is some compromise on major issues, one-day strikes with picket lines will be staged at one group of school districts in each of the first four days next week, with teachers returning to work across the province on Friday, May 30.

Iker reiterated the union’s position that more pay, more teachers and a return to contract language guaranteeing class size and special needs support are needed to reach a settlement.

Peter Cameron, chief negotiator for the province’s 60 school districts, informed the union last week that a five per cent pay cut will be put in place “soon” in response to the first phase of strike action.

The BCTF began work-to-rule action in April, refusing supervision outside classrooms and communication with school management. s

Any extension of the rotating job action will depend on events at the bargaining table.

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