Both sides of the negotiating table hope that a teachers’ contract can be reached before job action amps up to phase two.
The BCTF announced last week that the first stage of job action for teachers will begin today, Wednesday, April 23, with teachers refusing communication with school managers, arriving no more than an hour before and leaving an hour after school hours, and refusing supervision of students outside class time.
The B.C. government and the B.C. Teachers Federation are trying to agree upon a long-term contract for teachers. BCTF members voted in March to follow a three-stage strike plan.
If phase one fails to result in an agreement between the two parties, the BCTF will step up the job action to one-day walkouts around the province in phase two. Phase three would be a full-scale strike, but it would require another vote by teachers to authorize.
Shelley Balfour, president of the Cranbrook and Fernie Teachers Association, said that phase one job action will have little impact on students.
“The teachers will be teaching the kids and doing their regular activities. There will be no curtailing of the extracurricular – that’s still going ahead,” she said. “Where the kids might notice the change will be that board office staff – the excluded staff – will be on recess supervision. That’s probably the most that the kids will notice – there will be different people supervising.”