Friday, March 7, 2014

BCTF vote brings 89 per cent approval of strike option

Following three days of voting, members of the British Columbia Teachers' Federation delivered an 89 per cent mandate for their leadership to use a strike option, if necessary, to further their negotiations with the Provincial Government.

“Teachers voted so overwhelmingly in favour because the government has tabled unfair and unreasonable proposals that would undo the class size, class composition, and specialist teacher staffing levels we just won back in a BC Supreme Court Ruling,” ... “The employer’s salary offer is also less than what was given to other public sector workers and ignores how far BC teachers have fallen behind their colleagues across Canada.” --BCTF President Jim Iker speaking after receiving the overwhelming support of job action if required 

Of the 41,000 teachers in the province represented by the BCTF, 29,301 filled out a ballot over the last three days. With 26,051 of those voting, choosing to provide their negotiators with the option to take strike action, if required.

While the strong support for strike action from those that voted, provides the BCTF executive with a  mandate at the negotiation table, it does not mean that classroom instruction is destined to be interrupted once again, any time soon.

BCTF President Jim Iker outlined that the BCTF would not consider strike action unless it was "absolutely necessary", suggesting that any use of the strike mandate would depend on the status of the current round of negotiations with the Provincial Government and the Employers' Association.

Any decision of the BCTF to move towards a full scale walkout, would require another vote by the BCTF membership.

The announcement of the Strike Vote results, with video of the announcement was made available by the BCTF, streamed through the Teachers' Federation website (see here)

The full review of the mandate and where the BCTF intends to direct its energies next can be found from this advisory posted to the BCTF website.

The first reaction from the Provincial Government came from Education Minister Peter Fassbender, who released a statement through the BC Government website.

He also spoke on the topic of the strike mandate, with Vancouver radio station 1130 CKWX on Thursday evening (listen here)

The call for a strike vote was first announced on February 25th, you can review some of the background on the decision to seek out the strike mandate from our blog item of that day.

Some of the observations on the results of the Thursday evening vote can be found below.

Updates to this theme will be updated as they become available.

Mar 9-- Vcr 24 Hrs-- B. C. Teachers should be praised for trying to fix broken classrooms

Mar 7-- CKNW-- BCTF President Jim Iker with Michael Smyth (audio vault March 7 830-9 AM)
Mar 7-- CKNW-- BCTF President steadfast in refusing to tell the public teacher wage demands
Mar 7-- BCCPAC-- BCTF wins strike mandate but says job action not imminent

Mar 6-- News 1130-- BCTF President Jim Iker speaks about the teachers vote (audio)
Mar 6-- News 1130-- BC Teachers vote overwhelmingly in favour of job action
Mar 6-- CKNW -- Government reacts to teachers job action plans
Mar 6-- CKNW-- Large number of BC teachers favour strike action
Mar 6-- CBC-- B. C. teachers vote overwhelmingly 'yes' in strike vote
Mar 6-- Globe and Mail-- BC teachers vote in favour of strike action
Mar 6-- The Tyee-- Teachers vote in favour of gradual strike action
Mar 6-- Victoria T C-- Teachers vote 89% in favour of job action
Mar 6-- Van Sun-- B. C. Teachers vote in favour of strike
Mar 6-- Van Province-- BC Teachers vote 89 per cent in favour of strike action to support demands
Mar 6-- Global News-- B. C. Teachers vote 89 per cent in favour of strike action

For more background on education issues on the North Coast can be found on our Archive page.

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