Today could be the last day of school for students in the Kootenay Lake school district. The British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) has formally served its 72-hour strike notice. The announcement was made this morning by BCTF President Jim Iker. With schools closed on Friday as part of the previously announced rotating strikes, and with the latest revelation that Monday, June 16, will be a day for “study sessions” for teachers to review the revised bargaining package, students may not see the inside of a classroom again this year.
If no agreement is made between the two parties, teachers will be on strike beginning Tuesday, June 17.
In a letter, dated June 12, Kootenay Lake Superintendent Jeff Jones wrote, “Arrangements are being made for students who are required to write Provincial Exams in grades 10, 11 and 12 to do so at their respective schools. Please check your school’s website or see any communication from the school with regard to scheduling for these exams.
“We understand that the BCTF has agreed not to block students from entry to schools for the purposes of writing these exams,” he added.
However the school district is unable to provide transportation for students.
“I am sure that we are all frustrated and disappointed,” wrote Jones. “We hope that the labour dispute is resolved quickly at the bargaining table and that our school district can soon return to normal operations.
Teachers from across the province voted this week to give their union direction to move to stage three of their strike activity, which included the potential for a full-scale, province-wide withdrawal of services.
The teachers limited job action began on April 23 by withdrawing supervisory and administrative services before progressing to rotating strike action. The provincial government responded by partially locking out teachers, docked their pay by 10 per cent once rotating strikes began and announced a lockout for all secondary school teachers on June 25 and 26, with elementary teachers added to the lockout on June 27.
The provincial collective agreement between BC Public Sector Employee Association (BCPSEA) and the BCTF expired June 30, 2013.
Watch our website for further updates or visit sd8.bc.ca.