B.C. teachers' strike is over: 86% vote 'yes' to accept deal
'Yes' majority means many B.C. public schools will open Monday
The prolonged B.C. teachers' strike has ended, and the province's public school students will be starting their new school year next week.
More than 31,000 B.C. teachers voted Thursday on the tentative agreement reached with the government earlier this week, with 86 per cent of them voting to accept the deal.
B.C. Teachers' Federation president Jim Iker said it was a tough round of negotiations and a difficult time for those on strike, but the job action is now over.
"With the ratification of the new collective agreement, the strike and lockout are now over," he said. "Teachers and students will be back in school on Monday."
For some school districts — Vancouver, North Vancouver, Surrey, and Delta included — Monday will be a day of student orientation, and classes will start Tuesday. Parents are advised to check with their local school boards for details about the new school calendars.
Iker said the deal wasn't perfect, but said it did provide gains for teachers, protects their charter rights and increases support for students.
"There will be more classroom and specialist teachers in schools to help our students. Our teachers teaching on call will get fair pay for a day's work, and all our members will get a salary increase," he said.
B.C. Education Minister Peter Fassbender emailed a statement following Iker's announcement of the 'yes' vote result.
"On behalf of government, I want to thank and congratulate B.C. teachers for voting in favour of the agreement reached earlier this week between the BCTF and BCPSEA bargaining teams," Fassbender said.
"We have one of the best public education systems in the world, and that's in large part because we have such great teachers. We can now focus on the path forward."