Greater Southern Public Francophone teachers will go on strike August 31 unless trustees seriously consider the bottom-line proposal teachers tabled in May.
Teachersâ€™ decision to serve strike notice follows two days of intense negotiations August 18 and 19. Even though there were productive discussions those two days, trustees continued to insist that teachers accept conditions of employment inferior to those enjoyed by teachers throughout the rest of Alberta. In May, teachers voted 96 per cent in favour of strike action.
Greater Southern Public Francophone Education Region employs teachers formerly employed by Calgary School District and Greater North Central Francophone Education Region. The proposal teachers tabled in May, while similar to the four-year agreement recently signed by Greater North Central Francophone teachers, would reduce the benefits of the 60 per cent of Greater Southern Public Francophone teachers formerly employed by Calgary School District. It would also leave Greater Southern Public Francophone teachers with the second-lowest salary scale in 2003/04 and the third-lowest salary scale in 2004/05 of settled school jurisdictions.
â€œWe are at a loss to understand why the board is blaming teachers for the impasse. We tabled a significantly reduced proposal in May in an honest effort to resolve this dispute,â€ says Lyne Bacon, chair of the teachersâ€™ negotiating subcommittee. â€œWorking in a francophone school jurisdiction, Greater Southern Public Francophone teachers actively infuse their classrooms with francophone culture as well as being responsible for the education of their students.â€
Teachers employed by Greater Southern Public Francophone Education Region provide educational services in schools in Airdrie, Brooks, Calgary, Lethbridge, Okotoks and Medicine Hat. They have been without a collective agreement since August 31, 2003.