One-day teacher strike moved to Thursday

Teachers’ job action will close schools in SD5 on Thursday, June 5, ahead of Friday’s Pro-D Day

The second day of the teachers’ strike in Southeast Kootenay has been moved from Friday, June 6 to Thursday, June 5.

Last Wednesday, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) announced that it would be going ahead with a second round of rotating one-day strikes in its ongoing dispute with the B.C. government.

Originally, teachers in School District 5 (Southeast Kootenay) were scheduled to strike Friday. But when the BCTF realized that is a scheduled Professional Development Day, the strike was moved forward a day to Thursday, June 5, so that teachers could participate in scheduled workshops.

Families have been told to find alternative child care on Thursday.

“Pro-D Day was already booked in since last year for that date. BCTF just did not realize that at the time so they went ahead and changed it for us,” said Shelley Balfour, president of the Cranbrook and Fernie Teachers Association.

Pro-D Day helps teachers prepare for class work, she went on.

“Professional Development is something that we fought hard for and lost days of pay for a long time ago. It’s a really important day for teachers to get together and plan for the kids so we didn’t want to miss out on that.”

The one-day strike was not moved to further impact families.

“We are trying not to impact families. However, this one had to be done,” said Balfour. “We don’t want the kids to miss anymore at all – ever.”

Thursday’s strike will be the second time teachers have picketed as negotiations between the BCTF and the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) break down.

In retaliation for the rotating one-day strike, the BCPSEA has initiated a partial lockout that prohibits teachers from being on school grounds more than 45 minutes before and after class time, and at recess and lunch time. Teachers have also had their pay docked by 10 per cent for the duration of the job action.

Balfour said many people in Cranbrook have shown their support for teachers during the job action – both the first strike last week and the breaks on school days when teachers stand outside the school property.

“Thank you for all the support from people in the community. It has been overwhelming – lots of people bringing food and positive honks. Lots of good things are happening around the city and we really appreciate that,” said Balfour.