BCTF continues rotating strikes next week

Chilliwack teachers will be back on the picket lines Tuesday, June 3.

Teachers at Sardis Secondary wave to passing motorists Thursday as a rotating strike that has affected schools across BC for four days come to Chilliwack. Local teachers will be on the picket line again Tuesday as the strikes extend into next week.

The “one-day” rotating teacher strikes is not being kept to one day.

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation announced Wednesday that it would continue the rotating strikes into next week to further increase pressure at the bargaining table.

Chilliwack teachers will be on the picket lines Tuesday, June 3.

The BCTF and B.C. Public School Employers’ Association has been at the bargaining table for a year and a half, but has failed to agree on issues like class size, composition, staffing levels and wages.

The acrimony between the two sides is becoming increasingly concerning for those in the Chilliwack school district.

At the school district level, several meetings have been postponed and the development of the new strategic plan has been put on hold as well.

“With the rotating strikes continuing, that of course has ripple effects throughout the entire district, and it is very concerning,” said Chilliwack school board chair Walt Krahn.

“We have concerns from parents, we have concerns from students, we have students who are anxious with the unknowns facing them. And it is not the positive atmosphere and setting which we normally have.”

But Gord Byers, president of the Chilliwack District Parents’ Advisory Council, isn’t faulting teachers.

“The government needs to smarten up,” he said. “Teachers are fighting for composition, class size, [educational assistants], and student support. They’re going after everything the students need … but the government is basically holding them down to the ground.”

Grade 12 student Theresa-Anne Clarke-Harter agrees.

Taking time out of completing a history paper on Thursday, Clarke-Harter told The Progress she’s offended by how teachers have been treated by the government.

“The teachers I’ve known for the 12 years of my education have been wonderful, helpful, adequate people who have helped me in every possible way they could, and the fact the Liberal government is just treating them like crap is awful,” said Clarke-Harter, whose father is a former school trustee and mother is a Chilliwack teacher.

“I really do believe the teachers have the right to be fighting for what they’re fighting for right now … and we should have their backs.”

Chilliwack school district is once again requesting parents keep their children home from school during the strike day on Tuesday as there won’t be adequate supervision available.

kbartel@theprogress.com

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