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

Castlegar, Grand Forks areas to see cleaner winter roads under new contract

YRB set to take over 10-year maintenance contract on Monday

MP Cannings spared brunt of Ottawa tornadoes

MP Richard Cannings was spared the impact of the tornadoes that hit the Ottawa region

Kootenay Robusters end 18th paddling season

Women of Trail, Castlegar, Rossland, Christina Lake and Grand Forks came together in 2001

Trail bus line readies to takeover Kelowna run

Silver City Stage Lines must have a booking site up by Sept. 30; two vehicles activated by Oct. 26

More burning prohibitions rescinded in southeast B.C.

Category 2 and 3 fires will be permitted in Southeast Fire Centre as of 1p.m. on Wednesday.

VIDEO: Rare close encounter with whale pod spotted off B.C. waters

Pod of southern resident orca whales breach within arms length of whale watchers

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

B.C. woman donates $250,000 to ovarian cancer research for friends

Two of Patty Pitts’s friends passed away from the disease within a year

B.C. could provide clues as to how New Brunswick electoral results shake out

Premier Christy Clark faced a strikingly similar scenario following the province’s 2017 election

Most Read