In the fall of 2005, and in response to the government’s imposition of another contract, the BCTF engaged in a two-week strike, deemed illegal by the courts. The BCTF was found to be in contempt of court for defying the Labour Relations Board in order to return to work, and the Federation's strike fund was frozen. Teachers did not receive strike pay.
Teachers were united behind the three key objectives of a negotiated agreement: improved learning conditions, restored bargaining rights and a fair salary increase. The resulting settlement, brokered by mediator Vince Ready, broke the zero mandate of government, provided substantial benefits for teachers, and set the stage for the upcoming round of public sector bargaining in 2006.
“No one who took part in the 2005 BC teachers’ strike will ever forget it. It changed people’s lives, moved them to do things they did not know they were capable of, made them new friends for life, and engaged the public in a way few strikes ever do.” The BCTF commissioned journalist, columnist, political commentator, editor, broadcaster, author and former BCTF staffer Murray Dobbin to write a history of the 2005 BCTF 10-day illegal strike. View the history, titled I am the BCTF: The story of the 2005 BC teachers’ strike here.
Around the province, teachers walked picket lines and held demonstrations.
Rallies supporting teachers were held in Vancouver and Victoria.