Newspaper article The Canadian Press

B.C. Teachers' Strike to Continue into Summer School If Deal Isn't Reached

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

B.C. Teachers' Strike to Continue into Summer School If Deal Isn't Reached

Article excerpt

B.C. teachers to picket summer school

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VANCOUVER - Summer school could be the next casualty in British Columbia's teachers strike, with the union promising to continue its walkout if a deal isn't reached by next week.

B.C.'s more than 40,000 teachers launched a full-scale strike last week, but the union had yet to say what effect the walkout would have on summer school. The province wants remedial summer school to be declared an essential service.

"If the government does not come forward with new funding to reach a fair settlement by June 30, teachers will be prepared to extend the strike into summer and picket summer school," B.C. Teachers' Federation president Jim Iker told a news conference Wednesday.

"It will be up to school districts to decide whether they cancel summer school or not."

A day earlier, the B.C. Public School Employers' Association, which negotiates on behalf of the government, applied to the B.C. Labour Relations Board to add remedial summer school to an essential services order. Remedial programs are for students who have failed a high school course.

The labour board had not yet set a hearing date for the essential services' application.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender said if the board doesn't rule in the province's favour, summer school won't happen as long as teachers are off the job.

"There just won't be summer school," Fassbender told reporters in Vancouver. "And then 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.'"

Fassbender said the government is not considering back-to-work legislation, which it last imposed on teachers in 2012.

"The government is not going to continue the cycle of disruption, legislation, litigation," he said. "We are going to stay the course and we are not going to legislate."

The employers' association also wants year-round schools and education programs in youth jails and health-care facilities declared essential services. Year-round schools, which have been closed along with the rest of the province's schools since last Monday, have classes scheduled until the end of July.

Iker said the union has yet to make a decision about year-round schools or programming in jails or health-care facilities. …

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