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Vancouver: A total of 28,809 teachers voted yes in a province-wide vote conducted June 9–10, 2014. In all, 33,387 teachers cast ballots, of whom 86% voted yes.

“With this vote, BC teachers have sent a very strong message to Christy Clark and her government; it’s time to negotiate in good faith, put new funding on the table, and reach a fair deal with teachers that also provides better support for students,” BCTF President Jim Iker said. “It’s time for the BC Liberals to reinvest in public education and at least bring BC up to the national average in funding.”

In releasing the results, Iker stressed that teachers are prepared to fully withdraw services and go on a full-scale strike, but that decision has not yet been made. Rotating strikes will continue tomorrow in 22 school districts and across the rest of the province on Thursday and Friday.

“At this point, the BCTF has not served notice, but we will do so if necessary. If we make the decision to escalate, we will provide three working days notice. That means there are still several days left that both sides can hunker down, reach a settlement, avoid a full-scale strike, and end the government’s lockout.”

“BC teachers have shown incredible strength and commitment during the rotating strikes and the government’s chaotic lockout. More than ever, parents understand that this fight is about quality education for students and fairness for teachers. We want to thank parents for their support and encourage everyone who cares about public education to contact their local MLAs and demand change from this government. There is no reason why a province as rich as BC should be second last when it comes to funding education.”

Iker stressed that the BC Teachers’ Federation is prepared to make the necessary moves at the bargaining table that will bring the two sides together. But, he said, the Federation cannot be expected to move alone.

“We’re ready to make moves and get down to hard bargaining, but teachers need to see some good faith. This government still has a proposal on the table that would wipe out class size and composition guarantees that the BC Supreme Court has twice ruled were illegally stripped from collective agreements. The government is also entrenched on a salary demand that would see teachers effectively take two more years of zeros, which would make it four in a row. That’s unfair and unreasonable.”

According to a Labour Relations Board ruling, the BCTF is required to give 72 hours notice, three working days, prior to commencing a full-scale strike. That notice has not yet been given.

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For more information, contact Rich Overgaard, BCTF media relations officer, at 604-871-1881 (office) or 604-340-1959 (cell).

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