As the school term ends in the British Columbian province of Canada, teachers are continuing their determined strike to force the government to honour its commitments to keep class size and composition within reasonable limits. The main issue for teach …

BC teachers' strike

As the school term ends in the British Columbian province of Canada, teachers are continuing their determined strike to force the government to honour its commitments to keep class size and composition within reasonable limits. The main issue for teachers is a determination to reverse changes which are having a damaging effect on education in the province, particularly for the most vulnerable children.

Although the courts have ruled twice against the liberal government, it continues with its obdurate stance and seeks to blame the teachers and their union the British Columbia Teachers Federation (BCTF) for the impasse. It docked teachers’ pay by 10% during the rolling strikes, effectively locking them out of school during break times and before and after school.Both parents and students have shown a great deal of support for the teachers’ stand.

Teachers are now planning to picket summer schools, which are open to children who have failed their high school courses. The government, in a continuation of its provocative behaviour has gone to the Labour Relations Board to try to make the summer schools an essential service. In a deeply offensive statement the government said: ‘I would ask the BCTF to look those kids — who are vulnerable, that they say they care about — in the eye and say, ‘We’ve decided not to allow summer school.’

However both the commitment of the teachers and the underfunding of BC schools was made clear when teachers took home their own belongings at the beginning of the all out strike. According to an article in the Huffington Post, one teacher ‘Has purchased puzzles, storage containers, stickers, decorations, science project supplies, and dress-up clothes — until her husband, who is also a teacher, had to remind her of financial obligations like their mortgage. “There were years when I spent over $1,000,” she says.’

However it is the issue of class size and composition, which is the main issue for BC teachers and with the government refusing to accept the BCTF’s offer to go to mediation, it is obvious that their agenda is to seriously weaken the BCTF rather than fulfill their obligations to BC’s children. BC’s teachers however are clearly not about to let that happen.

Other news from teachers around the world

5th June: Liberia Teachers are continuing their fight for pay justice and for the proper funding of education

7th June: Brazil  In the build up to the World Cup, teachers continue their campaign for education funding, with teachers in Rio de Janeiro blocking roads as they protest during their strike

9th June: Papua New Guinea As the government in the resource rich country fails to pay teachers properly and some not at all, teachers threaten strike action

11th June: Djibouti  Education International has come to the defence of teachers who have been persecuted by security forces and sacked from their jobs

11th June: Greece  Teachers and cleaners, sacked under Troika imposed cuts, set up camp outside the Greek government finance offices to demand their jobs back

12th June: Global On the World Day against Child Labour this article shows how the World Bank sets up the conditions where child labour can flourish

17th June: Nepal  Temporary teachers enter the seventh month of a hunger strike for permanent contracts

22nd June: S. Korea  As the government outlaws the teachers’ union, the union fights back to defend its right to organise

30th June: Chile  Teachers strike with students to demand that the new government delivers on its promise to end the privatisation of schools

3rd July: India  Two reports on Indian education – one from the World Bank blames the teachers and one from Indian communities calls for equal and critical education and blames neo-liberal policies for the failure to provide it

7th July: UK  Teachers will join over a million public sector workers on strike this Thursday to fight cuts and low pay


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Teacher Solidarity

Teacher Solidarity is an independent website which records the resistance to education "reform" of teachers, their unions, communities and researchers, who are fighting to defend public and democratic education.

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