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Teachers' job action continues

Liv Norrie, 6, joins her father on the picket line Monday morning. - James Murray/Observer
Liv Norrie, 6, joins her father on the picket line Monday morning.
— image credit: James Murray/Observer

Teachers in School District #83 took to the streets for their second walkout as the ongoing teachers’ dispute rolled into its second week.

Rotating walkouts across the province began on May 26 and the government responded by issuing a partial lockout and 10 per cent wage rollback to all teachers participating in strike action.

Teachers are rallying for smaller class sizes, more support for students, and a salary increase of 15.9 per cent over the next four years. The government responded with an offer of a 7.3 per cent raise over six years, but the B.C. Teachers Federation declined.

Sandy Little, counsellor at Shuswap Middle School, says the ongoing dispute is a huge battle that needs to be figured out.

“This is about kids and learning,” said Little. “The system called education is broken and we need to collectively figure out how to fix it.”

Kylee Kok, who is a learning resource teacher at Shuswap Middle School, says she loves her job and the situation is frustrating to deal with because everyone should be working together to better education.

“It feels like we are fighting the wrong people,” said Kok.

Parents of affected students aren’t necessarily pleased with the current situation either, as students are missing days of school and losing valuable time with their teachers.

Andrea Pyle, who has two students in the school system, says she is in full support of the teachers.

“I’m disgusted with the way the government is twisting everything,” said Pyle. “I don’t think teachers have adequate funding and they have to be valued, respected and paid as such.”

Zan Alcock, who has a daughter in kindergarten, also thinks the teachers have good reason for taking strike action.

“I think it’s well merited,” said Alcock. “I think the government should be putting more money in the pot for kids.”

The Provincial Labor Relations Board will make a decision today,  Wednesday, in regards to the 10 per cent wage rollback teachers have been issued for participating in walkouts.

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