Teachers to take strike vote next week

B.C. teachers are set to take a strike vote next week, although an affirmative mandate wouldn’t likely affect classrooms right away.

“It does not mean that we’re walking out, closing the schools,” said Leslea Woodward, president of the Okanagan Skaha Teachers’ Union. “What we would be doing is a phased-in action and the first phase would not close schools or disrupt students.” She said job action would commence with teachers maintaining current extra-curricular activities but refusing to supervise students at recess or lunchtime and declining any form of electronic communication with administrators.

The measures are designed to put pressure on the B.C. government, which is seeking a 10-year contract with teachers, who have been without a deal since June 2013.

“We feel we’re being treated very disrespectfully,” said Woodward, adding the government’s most recent contract offer would mean no wage increases for four years dating back to 2011-12.

Okanagan Skaha School District superintendent Wendy Hyer could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Woodward said the province-wide strike vote will be taken March 4-6, and if it results in an affirmative vote, teachers would have 90 days to begin job action.  Additional phases of the strike would be dictated by what happens at the negotiating table, she added.












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