Teachers return to picket line

By: Korie Marshall

Friday is strike day for teachers this week in the Robson Valley, and it could be the last day of school for the year.

This is the third week of rotating strikes throughout the province, and teachers were voting on Monday and Tuesday on a full strike. Results were not expected until after press time, but if the teachers vote for a full strike, the BC Teachers Federation would need to give three days notice, meaning the full strike could start on Monday, June 16.
The province says a full walkout may impact the last nine days of school before summer break begins on June 27. For students in Kindergarten through Grade 9, that could mean schools will be closed and parents will need to make alternate child care arrangements, though the province expects parents will receive their children’s final report cards.

For students in Grades 10, 11 and 12, the province expects schools will be open for students to take provincial exams, though picket lines may be present and some rural students may not have normal bus service. The province says the employers’ association has applied to the Labour Relations Board to have report cards deemed essential, and marking provincial exams and submitting final grades would have to be done by teachers.

Richard Overgaard, spokesperson for the teachers’ union, said on Monday the Labour Relations Board had not yet had a meeting on the matter of provincial exams, and he wasn’t aware of the board’s schedule.

A statement from the BC Teachers Federation says teachers want more one-on-one support for students, smaller classes, time to prepare lessons and a reasonable wage increase. It says teachers haven’t received a wage increase since 2010.

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