“Get involved or get out of the way.”
That’s the message BC’s Education critic is sending Premier Christy Clark in the wake of rotating strikes and partial lockouts in public schools across the province next week.
Rob Fleming garnered cheers and applause from a crowd of at least one hundred teachers and supporters at a rally in Port Coquitlam.
He says although the Premier is speaking to delegates at a convention in Kelowna this weekend, she should be focused on getting an agreement signed with teachers.
“I’ve got some advice for Christy Clark this weekend, when she’s done touring the wineries, and she’s about to make her keynote address to her delegates there, try something different. It’s been twelve years of conflict and confrontation with teachers in British Columbia, with parents and students being the victims and the bystanders in all of this, it’s not working.”
He adds “I would like to see the Premier show the same urgency and willingness to bring sides together that she showed maybe in the Port Metro Vancouver dispute, I mean yes that was a dispute that was critical to the economy, so is public education right across BC.”
President of the Coquitlam Teachers Association Charley King says the lockout imposed by the government is creating confusion in classrooms.
“Now they’re back tracking and flip flopping and saying well we’re locking you out of your jobs but feel free to do any voluntary activities or anything you want to do. A lockout is a lockout, how do we do voluntary activities? For example, make sure we are able to see our students’ graduate, when we are locked out of the employer’s premises forty five minutes after work ends.”
The union’s rotating strikes are expected to begin Monday and will last four days, with every school in B.C. closed for one of those days.
The BC public school employers’ association has announced a partial lockout, including a 10 per cent pay cut if teachers follow through with their plans to walk off the job.