B.C. teachers not required to do report cards
Labour ruling says teachers' tactics allowed during contract talks
Posted: Nov 29, 2011 8:04 PM PT
Last Updated: Nov 30, 2011 8:19 AM PT
B.C. teachers can keep drawing full salaries and don't have to fill out report cards as part of their "controlled strike" during contract talks with the provincial government, a labour tribunal has ruled.
The B.C. Labour Relations Board (LRB) released the ruling late Tuesday in response to a B.C. Public School Employers Association (BCPSEA) application in October.
BCPSEA had asked the board to order the B.C. Teachers' Federation to reimburse the association an amount equal to 15 per cent of the total gross salaries and benefits paid to the province’s 40,000 teachers.
BCPSEA argued that teachers were not working performing all their duties, such as supervising playgrounds at recess or filling out report cards, so they should repay part of their income.
But the board said the teachers' pressure tactics during their “controlled strike” are allowable under the circumstances.
“In a controlled strike, the board tries to preserve the ability of parties to apply economic pressure to the extent possible while still protecting the public interest through the designation of essential services,” the employers' association quoted the LRB as saying in its ruling.
The teachers have been working without a contract since June and stopped providing the services since school began in September, although contract negotiations are continuing.
The LRB said both parties still have other options to bring “maximum pressure” to bear if they choose to.
“For example, while unattractive, the parties have the right to expand the strike or to lock out,” the LRB was quoted as saying.
On Monday, negotiations between the teachers and the employers took a negative turn when the government ended discussions about resolving legislation limiting teachers' bargaining rights that the B.C,. Supreme Court had ruled unconstitutional.
Education Minister George Abbott said the BCTF had been warned that talks aimed at rewriting the legislation would have to close by the end of November so new legislation could be written in time for an April deadline set by the court.
The negotiations on the legislation are separate from the teachers' contract talks.
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