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Nanaimo teachers begin strike action Wednesday (April 22)

Nanaimo teachers and their provincial counterparts issued 72-hour strike notice Thursday.

According to Nanaimo District Teachers’ Association president Mike Ball, job action will commence tomorrow (April 23) but will not consist of any school closures or class disruptions. Teachers will only be on school premises an hour before and an hour after instructional time and there will be no supervision outside of class time or contact with administration, like meetings, accepting or giving communication.

Meetings for worksite joint health and safety committee meetings and supervision mandated by an essential work services order are exempted from strike action. Ball also said continuation of extra-curricular activities is at the discretion of the teacher. Report cards will not be affected in this round of job action.

He said the last contract offer from the provincial government came about two weeks ago and negotiations are “frustrating.”

“They’re still not bringing enough resources to the table,” Ball said. “To get a deal done they have to significantly change their strategy and right now they’re offering us about 6.75 per cent over six years on a 10-year deal that’s not defined in the last four.

“There’s at least two zeroes [wage increases] in there, which means that four out of five years we will have taken zero.”

Negotiations resume today and will also take place tomorrow.

President Jim Iker said whether job action escalates to rotating strikes is dependent on progress at the negotiating table. He said it is the union’s hope to negotiate a deal and not to strike.

Nanaimo school district spokeswoman Donna Reimer said that a letter would be sent home today or Wednesday detailing any changes that might take place due to the job action.

“I think the one thing we always like to emphasize to parents, because they hear ‘strike’ and ‘strike notice,’ is schools will be open, teachers will be in classrooms on Wednesday,” Reimer said. “School will be operating for students.”

Reimer recommends parents go to the school district’s website at www.sd68.bc.ca for any updates.

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