B.C. teachers taking full-scale strike vote today – BC

B.C. teachers will start voting this morning on whether to increase their job action to a full-scale strike.

The possible escalation comes just one day after the government reached a tentative deal with school support staff.

Teachers have been engaged in rotating strikes for several weeks now.

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Experts say today’s vote may not result in a full-scale strike, but could be channeled into more pressure at the bargaining table.

The parties have appeared consistently divided over wages and whether classroom size and composition has a place in contract negotiations.

The union says it’s asking for a 9.75 per cent wage increase over four years, but the government calculates that including cost of living increases and other benefits the demand is closer to 19 per cent.

The government’s bargaining arm has offered 7.3 per cent over six years, along with a $1,200 signing bonus if the deal is made before the end of the school year.

The government is expected to save $12 million in teachers’ salaries and $4.5 million in support staff pay for each day of a potential strike, according to the education ministry.

So far, rotating strikes have saved the government $16.5 million each week. An additional $1.2 million per day has accrued by cutting teachers’ pay 10 per cent based on an employer-imposed lockout.

For a full schedule of rotating job action this week, click here

— with files from the Canadian Press

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