The strike comes after weeks of rotating job action while teachers press demands for improved wages, movement on class size, composition and specialty teachers.
Both sides point fingers at the other for causing the strike, with the B.C.Public School Employers Association accusing the teacher’s union of misrepresenting the facts and Mr. Iker claiming the province is not bargaining in good faith.
In the meantime, no talks are scheduled, although they have not been officially called off.
That has left the Premier’s special advisor on labor negotiations, Lee Doney claiming a negotiated settlement is still possible, but he also says the B.C. Teachers Federation will have to come back to the bargaining table with a similar attitude to that of other public sector unions, like the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
“We reached a deal with CUPE President Council in 5 days, so we’ve got time to get a deal, it’s not us who left the bargaining table, it was them,” Doney explained. “Sine 2001, when I’ve been involved with the Deputy Minister of Labour, we’ve done over 860 deals. So, what’s the common denominator here?”
For their part, union leaders have again accused Premier Christy Clark of trying to provoke a strike by offering wage hikes of only seven percent of six years and a $1200 signing bonus.