Union workers show support for striking teachers in Fernie and Elk Valley

School is out for three days this week as teachers are on strike.

  • Mar. 6, 2012 8:00 p.m.
Teachers on strike outside Isabella Dicken Elementary School in Fernie.

Teachers on strike outside Isabella Dicken Elementary School in Fernie.

School is out for three days this week as teachers are on strike.

Teachers from Elk Valley schools, and all across the province chose to go on strike Monday for three days, and although the schools in the Elk Valley remain open, the school board has asked parents to keep their children at home.

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation served notice Thursday last week that teachers would be going on strike on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

As a result, there is no teaching but principals, vice-principals and support staff including CUPE workers were at work to provide supervision.

CUPE workers showed support on Tuesday, holding a rally outside schools in the Elk Valley.

Kate Noakes, President of the Fernie District Teachers’ Association, said teachers are ‘devastated’ about government plans to introduce new legislation, known as Bill 22, currently being debated at the legislature in Victoria.

Noakes described the legislation as an attack on teachers and students and a chance for the B.C. government to continue under-funding education in the province.

“We had a meeting on Monday including a study session to make sure all our members were familiar with Bill 22,” she said. “People are really shocked and devastated about it. It would take away our basic rights as teachers. It’s very insulting.”

More than 160 teachers across the Elk Valley and the South Country went on strike.

The B.C. government is debating legislation that would extend the current teacher pay and benefits for another six months, while a mediator works with the BCTF and the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association in an effort to find common ground on class sizes, special needs support and other issues.