Summer school pickets next: BCTF

Teacher pickets will target summer school if they don't have a settlement by June 30, BCTF's Jim Iker says

B.C. Teachers' Federation president Jim Iker speaks to reporters in Vancouver Wednesday.

Teacher pickets will target locations where summer school is being carried out if they don’t have a settlement of their strike by June 30.

B.C. Teachers’ Federation president Jim Iker announced that decision Wednesday, as he prepared for the first meeting with B.C. Public School Employers’ Association since a full-scale strike began June 17. The meeting has been characterized as “exploratory talks” dealing with possible mediation.

BCPSEA has applied to the Labour Relations Board for summer school offerings to be declared essential services, if they are “secondary remedial programs provided to students who have failed a secondary level course.”

Summer programs for elementary school students, international students or secondary students trying to improve a passing grade would not be protected by an LRB order, meaning the majority of summer programs wouldn’t go ahead.

Iker said the union is also considering the plight of B.C.’s five modified calendar schools, which have three month-long breaks instead of the traditional summer vacation.

They are in the middle of their final three-month term and are facing more disruption than other schools. BCPSEA has also applied for essential service protection so they can resume operation.

Iker said if there is no deal by June 30, BCTF negotiators would be available to continue talks, rather than taking the summer off as they did last year.

The two sides remain far apart on wages and benefits, with a long-running dispute over class size and special needs support levels going back to court this fall.