Teachers across the province began job action, targeting administrative duties on Wednesday – action that will have little effect on students, and if the president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association is right, it will end soon.
“I don’t see us staying in this Stage 1 very long,” said Benula Larsen. “Either we’re going to get something or we’re going to increase. For parents, for public, for the teachers, we don’t want to start September again without knowing what’s happening. Or just sitting at the table and hoping. We can’t keep hoping. We have to do something.”
The move comes in response to a March 6 B.C. Teachers’ Federation vote, in which 89 per cent of members waiting on long-stalled contract negotiations supported potential job action, the first since a three-day walk out in March 2012.
Stage 1 is strictly administrative. Teachers will continue to teach, write report cards, communicate with parents and participate in voluntary extracurricular activities.
They won’t undertake any mandated supervision of students outside of regularly scheduled classes except as set out by an essential services order (in the Greater Victoria School District, such supervision falls outside teacher responsibility, so students will feel no effect); they will abstain from attending any meetings with management other than those with worksite joint health and safety committees; they will no longer provide or receive principals or administrators with any routine printed, written or electronic communication; nor will they arrive at a worksite prior to one hour before class or stay more than one hour late.
“It can’t continue like this,” Larsen added. “We’re not going to go another school year like this. It’s either this or we’re going to walk out and I’m hearing from teachers that this time, there’s no three days, or one day – no, no, no, no – we’re going to walk out until we get what we want. That’s what teachers are saying.”