BC Teachers’ Strike Vote a Resounding “Yes”

The teachers of B.C. have voted overwhelmingly to support strike action to back their bargaining goals of improved learning conditions for students, restored bargaining rights,
and a fair salary increase.

A total of 88.4% of British Columbia teachers voted “yes” in a
province- wide strike vote. In all, 31,740 teachers cast a ballot, of whom 27,990 voted
yes. About 80% of teachers in schools and teachers on call participated. The
previous contract, imposed through legislation, expired in June 2004.

“With this vote, our members have taken a courageous stand for
public education. I’m so very proud of them,” said Jinny Sims, president of the B.C.
Teachers’ Federation. “And we’re gratified that such a large number of
teachers participated.”

Sims said the vote demonstrates the tremendous unity amongst
teachers, and their resolute commitment to achieving improvements for their students and
their profession.

“We know from experience that classroom conditions have only
improved when teachers have taken a stand,” Sims said. “Our students have lost too much
over the last four years for teachers to stand by and allow conditions to
continue deteriorating.”

Sims announced that teachers will serve strike notice today, and
job action is set to begin next Tuesday, September 27, 2005. The first phase, a
two-week period, is designed to place pressure on the employer but maintain
regular classroom instruction and voluntary extra-curricular activities.

If no progress is made in discussions with government and the
employer, the second phase – October 11-20, 2005 – would see rotating strikes in school
districts around B.C.

In the unfortunate event that the government and the employer
remain inflexible in their positions, a full-scale withdrawal of all services would
commence October 24, 2005.

“Teachers have been very patient in the face of constant
interference by this provincial government,” Sims said. “At the bargaining table the
employers’ position, mandated by government, has been completely inflexible –
no improvements, no rights, and no money.”

Sims emphasized that teachers will continue to seek solutions in
the talks set up last week at the request of Labour Minister Mike de Jong.

“We are prepared to work 24-7 to find solutions that address the
needs of our students, our teachers and our profession,” Sims said. “Today teachers
have clearly stated their determination to achieve improved learning and
working conditions. We hope our message will be heard.”

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6 Replies to “BC Teachers’ Strike Vote a Resounding “Yes””

  1. I am a teacher from Pitt Meadows Secondary and I think that the government is just plain wrong, please contact me with the subject “I agree” or “I disagree” and state your own opinions.

    Thank You

    Kim Manning

  2. I agree that the government is wrong and completely unfair. I’m a grade 12 student at West Vancouver Secondary. All students seem to be happy with the strike and they see it as march break int he middle of October. I just hope this whole disagreement ends soon with good and fair results.

  3. I don’t agree. I think the strike is very degrading to the Province and the country as a whole. Canada is a developed country and yet, all the workers do is go on strike. Canadians like to think that unions are so great and going on strike is something to be proud of. But they never think that this embarasses the country as whole. I heard that Canada, specifically BC, has the most number of strikes in the world. I can’t believe I’m living in a country like this. No wonder Canada is way behind in every single aspects compared to other countries, even the third world countries in Asia. They are all moving forward, and yet Canada is moving backward. Very embarassing.

  4. For Jennifer’s comment, it is because we live in a developed country that teachers in BC should have the right to strike. We live in a democratic country where people have the right to protest against what they believe in and what they support. If we do not exercise our right to protest and let the government dictate what teachers can and cannot do, then I would be afraid for this country.

  5. Do you really think teachers deserve more pay and more slacking off?
    Many teachers dont really care about students. If teachers do get more money, what do you think will happen? Students will learn better?
    certainly not.
    For what i have seen is teachers getting a unreasonable high amount of amount pay, and teachers telling students to read the text book and assigns homework and runs off on a coffee break. In fact, if teachers are like that, I think cutting their salary is more reasonable or even make a organization that evaluate teachers. And based on these evaluation is your pay.

  6. Well whether or not the teachers have a good reason to strike, the important thing is that they have the right to. The fact that BC has the most number of strikes in the world is not embarassing. It says to things, that the government is unintuitive, and that the people stand up for what they believe in. It shows that, even though democracy is being slaughtered around the world, there still exists hope. It’s about showing the government that we run this country, not them. If the rest of BC felt that teacher’s didn’t have a good reason, then they wouldn’t have had the support that they did.

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