Teachers vote on three-step strike plan

Phase one is restricting work hours and refusing supervision, phase two is rotating strikes in different districts

  • Mar. 6, 2014 6:00 p.m.

Premier Christy Clark and B.C. Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair speak after meeting at the B.C. legislature Wednesday.

B.C. teachers complete voting today on a mandate for a three-stage strike plan.

Details have emerged from several school districts, where B.C. Teachers’ Federation members have voted yes or no to authorize the first two phases of strike action.

Phase one is refusing meetings or communication with administrators, and working to rule on hours, except for pre-arranged voluntary activities. According to one summary released by the government, teachers are to arrive at school no more than one hour before class time and leave by one hour after classes, with no supervision of students outside of class time.

Phase two is rotating one-day walkouts in districts around the province. Phase three, a full-scale strike, would require a second vote by members to authorize. There is no specified start time, but a strike vote would give the union 90 days to withdraw services.

The three-phase plan was also described in late February by Steve Stanley, president of the Comox District Teachers’ Association.

Summaries include the union’s breakdown of the initial wage offer from Peter Cameron, the chief negotiator for B.C.’s 60 school districts. It describes pay increases totalling six per cent over the next five years, which Cameron has described as an opening position.

The BCTF has not presented a wage offer, opting to secure a strike mandate first.

The strike vote was underway as Premier Christy Clark met with a union delegation headed by B.C. Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair, including a member of the BCTF executive.

Sinclair called on the government to raise the minimum wage to $13 an hour. Clark said there is currently no plan to increase it beyond the current rate of $10.25, set in 2012.

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