Teachers Laurel McEachnie (front left) and Kristen Dion (right) walk the picket line at Alexis Park Elementary School Wednesday with Denise Lauson (back left) and Louise Alexander.

BCTF revises demand in talks to ward off full strike

Poll finds support for smaller classes, but not a pay hike for teachers that exceeds deals for other unions

The B.C. Teachers Federation says it’s presenting a revised demand to provincial government representatives in talks that are expected to run through the weekend in an effort to avert a full-scale strike next week.

The union issued 72-hour strike notice this week and said teachers will hold study sessions Monday followed by a full walkout starting Tuesday unless a deal is reached.

Asked if the province is also revising its offer to the teachers, a representative of the B.C. Public School Employers Association only said that “bargaining is ongoing and everyone is focused on trying to reach a negotiated agreement.”

BCTF spokesman Rich Overgaard called it a “fluid” situation with both sides focused on reaching an agreement.

The Labour Relations Board on Thursday expanded the designation of essential services to include the supervision of Grade 10 to 12 provincial exams from June 16 to 24 and the completion and submission of final grades for Grade 12 students by June 20.

It also covers testing and designation of special needs students.

A new online poll by Insights West, meanwhile, suggests more people are siding with the teachers in the dispute.

The survey found 42 per cent of B.C. residents think the BCTF is being reasonable, while 32 per cent felt that way about the government.

Insights West Poll

Sixty per cent of those polled said class sizes in public schools need to be smaller.

But an even stronger majority – 65 per cent – said teachers should get the same salary increase as other B.C. unions. Just 16 per cent agreed the teachers should get more.

More than half (58 per cent) said balancing the budget should take precedence over raising salaries for government workers.

“Most parents with children enrolled in public schools have emerged from the last two weeks with disappointment,” said Insights West vice-president Mario Canseco.

“Parents who have children in public schools are decidedly supportive of the teachers and the BCTF, in spite of the inconvenience that the dispute has brought to their daily lives. Only 14 per cent of parents side with the government, while 43 per cent remain sympathetic with the teachers and BCTF.”

Just Posted

UPDATE: Hwy. 5 open south of Blue River following ‘vehicle incident’

Social media reports say a semi-truck lost its load

Police warn Barriere residents about suspicious prowlers on private property late at night or early morning hours

Residents advised to secure their vehicles and remove all valuable contents

Woman killed in head-on crash near Vanderhoof

RCMP say driver crossed the centre line and hit a loaded fuel tanker truck

African Children’s Choir making a difference in the world

Waroto Children’s Choir celebrate Christ and caring for community on six month world tour

Snowpack at normal levels, but El Niño is lurking

Despite a warmer than usual winter that has produced a dearth of… Continue reading

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Kamala Harris opens U.S. presidential bid in challenge to Trump

The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign

Most Read