The chair of the Vancouver School Board says district staff have had zero communication with government about rolling back the wages of district employees: BC’s striking teachers.
Patti Bacchus says it will be district staff stuck with the logistics of figuring out how to carry through with the provincial government’s threat.
Bacchus says the work comes with a cost.
“We all have different payroll systems. It varies from district to district. There will of course be staff time. There was a lot of staff time spent last week preparing information about benefits, which now seems to no longer be needed. It is frustrating. It is adding to the workload for sure and there is some question of how quickly it can even be achieved if that is government’s intention to implement it quickly.”
That said Bacchus says boards first heard about the move in the media and have yet to get any direction at all from the province.
“I haven’t recieved anything myself. I am just checking with staff at the school district to see if they have had any communication. Most of what has come through to me today as the board chair has been more around the rotating strikes. I haven’t heard any instruction or directions regarding adjusting the payroll.”
The province has said striking teachers could lose up to 10% of their wages.
Bacchus says district staff spent hours compiling information on teachers benefits.
As for the cost.
“I couldn’t tell you off hand but it was a big job and staff had to be taken off of their normal duties to work on that through the week. They were told to have that ready by Friday afternoon, which we did and we were never advised we didn’t need to do it so it went ahead. Now I assume we are going to be looking at trying to find a way to quickly change the amount of paycheques but I don’t believe we have been formally been asked to do that yet.”
On Friday the province backed down a threat to bill the teacher’s union five-million-dollars a month for health benefits.