- Our Town
Teachers out for 3 days
Classes were cancelled as teachers were off the job Monday to Wednesday during an ongoing labour dispute.
The provincial Labour Relations Board has given the teachers the go-ahead to withdraw their services for three days.
Because of the job action, the school district cancelled bus service during the action and urged parents not to send their children to school.
Wendy Hyer, superintendent of the Okanagan Skaha School District, said at some schools, only one administrator was on duty for the three days.
While the three-day closure is shorter than the two-week job action in 2005, Hyer said there are concerns about the effects of the job action on the students.
“They’re not in class,” she said. “Every instructional moment with kids is valuable.”
Kevin Epp, president of the Okanagan Skaha Teachers’ Union, said the teachers had tried to avoid a disruption of service during the ongoing labour dispute, but felt it necessary as the discussions had not brought about a resolution.
“Teachers are really united about having to take a stand,” he said. “We are standing up for all students and for our education system.”
He added that the job action should not hinder the students, since in 2005, the two-week disruption resulted no significant hardships.
“I firmly believe the three days will not have a pronounced effect on the children,” he said.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Kevin Falcon called a teachers’ picket line in Victoria illegal.
“The B.C. Teachers Federation has mounted an illegal picket line outside several government buildings in Victoria and is encouraging unionized
staff not to enter their workplaces.
“In government’s view, this strike activity is illegal, and we will seek
an injunction from the Labour Relations Board confirming our position
“We are encouraging all staff to come to work as normal. Managers are
available to help staff enter the building if they feel intimidated by
these disruptive tactics. However, normal pay policy applies, and staff
who do not come to work will not be paid for the day.
“We are monitoring the situation closely to ensure that public service staff are not harassed or mistreated.”