- Classes still are scheduled to start on Sept. 6
B.C. teachers have given 72-hour strike notice for Sept. 6 – the first day of school. Forty-one thousand teachers will abandon administrative duties like filling out report cards, supervising playgrounds or meeting with principals – unless an agreement is reached with the province.
The B.C. Teachers' Federation said it won't rule out an all-out strike, but added that's not something teachers want.
The BCTF and the province officially went back to the bargaining table Wednesday, with the union's head negotiator Jim Iker.
"Boards are in financial straightjackets, we've got Maple Ridge asking students to bring the photocopier paper to school."
On Tuesday, Education Minister George Abbott said he would consider legislating teachers back to work if they walk off the job.
Lambert said taking away the teachers' right to strike will ultimately hurt students and the education system.
'Boards are in financial straightjackets, we've got Maple Ridge asking students to bring the photocopier paper to school.'—BCTF negotiator Jim Iker
"That's always a worrisome tact that government takes when they want to shirk on their obligations to the citizens of the province. Their obligation [is] to maintain the high quality of the public education system. They use the legislative hammer."
Lambert said parents should demand that public education be the cornerstone of Premier Christy Clark's families-first mandate.
"If the premier is serious about her families-first agenda she'll send her bargaining team to the table with a new mandate."
Contingency plans in place
Jim Cambridge, superintendent of the Sooke School District, said schools have contingency plans in place to cover any gaps left by any teacher job action.
"Communications will be personal, one-on-one, not through school newsletters, et cetera. Communication and supervision of students will be done by principals and vice principals so they will be less available before and after school, which is typically a time when parents like to chat with principals."
Cambridge said provincial exams will be conducted for graduating students if the job action stretches on.