Striking teachers should pay back part of their salary for work they haven't done for 50 days, says the government's bargaining agent, which wants the B.C. Labour Relations Board to intervene.

Melanie Joy, spokeswoman for the B.C. Public School Employers' Association, said the teachers' union needs to reimburse school districts for duties that haven't been performed since the first day of school.

"We have calculated [the amount] to be about 15 per cent of their salary," Joy said Wednesday before the employers' association filed an application with the Labour Relations Board on the salary reimbursement issue.

It will also ask the board to rule that report cards be deemed essential during the strike.

"We need to make sure that the strike is not having any more of an impact than it already has," Joy said.

Along with refusing to complete report cards, teachers have not been performing other administrative and supervisory duties after their contract expired at the end of June.

"The situation we find ourselves in now, three months into the school year, is that the strike is actually very disruptive to our system," Joy said.

"Not only do the school teams as well as parents not know what the students are doing, they have an inability to communicate what the priorities are within the school districts about what the students need, what help they need."

Teachers fight back

But BCTF president Susan Lambert says in every dispute since 2001 the employer has conceded report cards are not an essential service 

She says when the LRB set essential services early in the dispute, the employer agreed report cards did not have to be on the list and it's too late for the employer to change that position.

"That was a replication of previous job actions that we had taken to the IRB. But now the BCPSEA has reversed its position and that's inexplicable to me," she said.

Lambert says the job action doesn't mean teachers are doing less work.

"In fact, teachers are finding more time to attend to the individual needs of students. In my view, that is what teachers ought to be doing," said Lambert.

 Vancouver School District spokesman Kurt Heinrich says unless the situation changes, most students will be getting blank reports cards, but  grade 12 students will  be getting grades.    

"Grade 12 students, they will be receiving all the evaluations necessary for scholarships and university applications, but for younger students, they'll probably just have the attendance, contact information for the teachers, but probably no marks," said Heinrich.

With files from The Canadian Press