Nanaimo teachers walk picket lines

A letter went home with students yesterday to provide parents with details of what to expect during the lockout and rotating strikes by teachers in Nanaimo school district.

Spokeswoman Donna Reimer said the list of questions and answers was provided by the province, which imposed a lockout on teachers this week, barring work 45 minutes prior to and after scheduled classes, as well as during lunch and recess.

“It probably has the most complete info in regards to the lockout,” Reimer said.

Nanaimo teachers are on strike today (May 27) as part of rotating strikes throughout the province this week. Classes will be in session tomorrow.

The lockout is an attempt to bolster the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association’s case for cutting salaries by 10 per cent in response to the strike action.

BCPSEA chief negotiator Peter Cameron said the lockout terms match existing union work hour restrictions and do not interfere with voluntary activity. Teachers can choose not to contact parents or take part in graduation, but the lockout doesn’t prevent that and there is no pay to cut for such volunteer activities, Cameron said.

B.C. Teachers’ Federation president Jim Iker said Thursday the stop-work order will disrupt after-hours activities, including graduation ceremonies and may disrupt report cards and marking of provincial exams for graduating students.

“No more calls to parents, no more e-mails home, it all comes to an end because of the lockout,” Iker said.

Reimer said Nanaimo school district will plan day by day as the situation unfolds.

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