Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Potential labour trouble as BC schools prepare for September

“If the government doesn’t show a commitment to bargaining, our members will take full scale job action,” ... “They’re frustrated that we’ve had three false starts to negotiating, and the clock is ticking.” CUPE Chair Colin Pawson, speaking on frustrations at the negotiating table for support workers at BC Schools

With classes set to resume in but weeks for British Columbia students, labour difficulties may find picket lines greeting them when they head back to school in September.

However, it won't be labour concerns of teachers that mark labour discontent for September, in this case, it will be the support staff at British Columbia's public schools, including those employed by SD 52, that may take job action.

This after word that negotiations have broke off between workers represented by CUPE  and the BC Public School Employers' Association.

CUPE outlined it's frustration with the BCPSEA in a press release on Tuesday, which advises that negotiations have broken off indefinitely, as the some 27,000 education support workers consider their next options. 

Wage issues and what CUPE calls a lack of preparation to bargain from the BCPSEA is key to the current dispute. According to CUPE, virtually all of the 57 CUPE locals representing education workers have had positive strike votes.

CUPE represents education assistants, clerical staff, trades custodians, bus drivers and other workers in support positions at British Columbia public schools from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

While Education Minister Peter Fassbender might be hopeful that the upcoming school year may be strike free, there would seem to be no shortage of issues that may make for a contentious school year ahead. 

The potential support staff dispute is just one of many possible flash points on education for the Provincial Government as the 2013-14 school year gets closer to its starting point.

Other potential areas of concern for parents of students in British Columbia public schools  could be the ongoing discontent between the BCTF and the provincial government

Another talking point of interest for the near future, are rumblings of possible change in structure of the School District system. 

That after  a recent suggestion that could see the government investigate the idea of amalgamating School Districts, introducing larger education authorities, which would apparently resemble something along the lines of the province's Health System.

That was a trial balloon from the weekend that has already received a negative review.

Before any of those issues move to the front burner however, the support staff issues will take precedence,  some background on the CUPE dispute can be found below:

The Tyee-- Government, BCPSEA react to school support workers strike vote

Past items on education on the North Coast can be found in our Education Archive

1 comment:

  1. Go on Strike and do not back down for a strike as the province needs to wake up and leave the working people alone and let the strike go ahead. If you are ordered back to work well do what they do in the states and that is stay out and fight and do not let the court scare any of you as we are to soft when the court orders a end to the strike. In the states they stay out for as long as it takes and we need to do the same in BC now. Or are you going to let the Liberal govenment scare you each time. If so we may as well not strike. This is whay we needed NDP in charge as they stand up for unions and let you strike.