Spring break halts Greater Trail teacher job action

Spring break imposes a brief hiatus from the escalating teachers' job action.

It will be all silent on the academic front this week while spring break imposes a brief hiatus from escalating teachers’ job action.

Unlike last week, there will be no teacher job action planned for the two weeks of spring break in SD 20, despite a Labour Board ruling allowing for one day per week of demonstration.

Last week teachers walked out of classrooms for three days and held a rally Wednesday in downtown Trail with about 200 teachers and other union members in attendance.

But by the time teachers and students head back to the classrooms it is expected legislation to end job action — known as Bill 22 — will have been passed.

The bill is still being debated in the legislature, and indications are the NDP will use procedural tactics to extend debate, but it could still pass by March 16.

“We are relying on the Opposition to continue to debate vociferously against Bill 22,” said Kootenay Columbia Teachers Union representative Andy Davidoff. “There is nothing we can do over spring break.”

He pointed to an amendment proposed by the NDP to appoint a mediator with the authority to resolve the dispute as a bright spot in the labour dispute gloom.

Many teachers will be in Vancouver this Saturday for the BCTF annual general meeting where they will plan their next steps.

Bill 22 would outlaw any further job action by teachers until Aug. 31 and calls for the appointment of a mediator, although wage demands would not be dealt with. Teachers are asking for a 15-per-cent increase over three years, but the government has refused to consider any increases.