Nanaimo teachers vote in favour of strike escalation

Nanaimo teachers and their colleagues across the province have given an overwhelming mandate to escalate job action in their dispute with the province.

Eighty-six-per cent of teachers voted in favour of stepping up action. In a news release, Jim Iker, provincial union president, said a decision had not been made on whether to go to a full-scale strike or to increase rotating strike dates.

Mike Ball, Nanaimo union local president, told the News Bulletin that there was no announcement as of press time but negotiations would be ongoing.

“We’ll be calling for government to put pressure on and have bargaining as many hours as needed to get a deal before any escalation might take place,” Ball said.

He said the union met Wednesday looking at its last proposal and seeing where adjustments can be made to try to get closer to a deal.

Should more rotating strike days be added or a full strike occur, the Nanaimo school district advises parents to follow the same protocol that has been in place since the current job action began.

“It will be the same routine. Parents are asked not to send students to school; there will be no bus service, etc.,” said spokeswoman Donna Reimer. “We will send information to parents once we are informed about the next strike action to affect our district.”

Reimer said an all-out strike on Monday won’t take place as the district heard that the 72-hour deadline for issuing notice has passed.

The province was not surprised by voting results.

“While the BCTF leadership received the mandate they sought, no one should interpret this as any kind of enthusiasm on the part of teachers to shut down schools,” said Education Minister Peter Fassbender.

– with files from Jeff Nagel

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