BC Teachers demonstrating on the last Day of their March Strike
Teachers in British Columbia have voted 73% in favour of more action against cuts and against the assault on their labour rights
Teachers in British Columbia, a province of Canada, are involved in a long campaign
against government cuts which mean larger classes, less help for children with special needs and have seen teachers frequently being replaced by teaching assistants. As a result of their determined fight the government implemented the so-called Bill 22
which takes away teachers' right to strike, imposes huge fines both on individual teachers and their union if they take strike action and ends free collective bargaining.
Now the teachers have voted to continue their action by withdrawing from extra-curricular duties - a strategy which as President of British Columbia Teachers Federation (BCTF) Susan Lambert points out is not popular with teachers - so the large vote in favour shows the strength of their determination. Lambert says: “Teachers struggle with this because these activities bring so much joy to our engagement with students. We know this will mean the loss of some highly-valued activities, and we sincerely regret that. But we have to look at the bigger picture and the longer term.”
The BCTF is also keeping open the possibility of future strike action as well as a concerted campaign to raise awareness of the issues for education as a result of Bill 22 and the cuts.