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British Columbia Teachers' Federation President Susan Lambert announces B.C. teachers will begin a three-day strike at news conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday, March 1, 2012. (Darryl Dyck For The Globe and Mail/Darryl Dyck For The Globe and Mail)
British Columbia Teachers' Federation President Susan Lambert announces B.C. teachers will begin a three-day strike at news conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday, March 1, 2012. (Darryl Dyck For The Globe and Mail/Darryl Dyck For The Globe and Mail)

B.C. teachers' union to seek backing for protest 'action plan' Add to ...

The British Columbia teachers’ union will Wednesday announce a proposed “action plan” of protest that could include an illegal walkout or end to teacher volunteering for extracurricular activities.

The British Columbia Teachers Federation has announced a 1 p.m. PT news conference to disclose a plan hatched during the federation’s annual general meeting, which ended late Tuesday night.

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The 700 delegates at the meeting refused to be specific about the action plan as they left, but president Susan Lambert has said all options are on the table, including a walkout.

“We have come out of the annual general meeting united around an action plan to oppose Bill 22,” Ms. Lambert told reporters.

Ms. Lambert said the union will canvass its 41,000 members after the spring break to seek their endorsement of the campaign.

“Teachers who weren’t here sent their representatives to this annual general meeting to develop an action plan. That’s been developed,” she said.

Walkouts would be expensive for the BCTF and its members.

Under back-to-work legislation, the BCTF would be fined $1.3-million per day and individual teachers more than $400.

Earlier Tuesday, Ms. Lambert acknowledged the financial burden would be daunting, but that the teachers won’t rest until they scrap Bill 22 – the back-to-work legislation that also imposes a mediator to resolve a contract impasse between the teachers and government.

The legislation came after tensions exploded into a three-day walkout earlier this month. Teachers, who have been without a contract since June, are looking for a 15 per cent wage hike over three years, but the government has rejected the proposal because of a net-zero wage mandate for the public sector.

“Our members are behind getting rid of Bill 22, taking on this government. They can’t hammer teachers at will,” said Derek Degear, president of the Nanaimo District Teachers Association.

“We’ve got a plan. There’s some differing opinions on how we get to that end goal. We’re going to take this plan back to the membership and hopefully get their support.”

Ms. Lambert said she was not worried about divisions among teachers.

“We come from very different points of view, but we come together and have honed an action plan that has a high degree of consensus,” she said.

Teacher Heather Andruski said she expected the action plan would generate solid support among teachers.

“We have to do this as a membership and not all of our members are here so we’ll pass on the information that we have and the membership will decide,” she said.

Follow on Twitter: @ianabailey

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