Government provoked teacher strike: negotiator

The B.C. government's negotiator admitted in court his strategy in 2012 negotiations with teachers was to provoke a strike

Teachers and other government union workers rally at the B.C. legislature during brief teacher strike in March 2012.

VICTORIA – The B.C. government’s negotiator admitted in court his strategy in 2012 negotiations with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation was to provoke a full-scale strike.

NDP critics launched their return to the B.C. legislature Wednesday with questions about a transcript from the recent BCTF court challenge. It shows government negotiator Paul Straszak said provoking a full-scale strike was designed to move the union from its months-long ban on extra-curricular activities that started in the fall of 2011.

Asked by the BCTF lawyer if the strategy was to close schools with a full-scale walkout, which had been authorized by the Labour Relations Board to last up to a week, Straszak replied “I’ll say yes.”

Straszak described his briefing for John Dyble, Premier Christy Clark’s deputy minister, before a cabinet meeting.

“So what we’re talking about here is cabinet is going to be in an awkward situation in the context of a low scale strike, meaning it’s going to want to put an end to it but the public won’t necessarily see the need for the legislation because the kids are still in school,” Straszak told the court.

Straszak said the teachers’ work-to-rule action “was having a really significant impact on education” and the increase in pressure was part of the “political dynamic” of the long-running dispute.

In the legislature Wednesday, NDP leader Adrian Dix called on Clark to explain the strategy.

Attorney General Suzanne Anton said the Jan. 27 decision of B.C. Supreme Court is being appealed, and refused to comment further.

NDP education critic Rob Fleming said the premier and Education Minister Peter Fassbender have commented publicly on the decision in media interviews, and in letters sent to all teachers.

In her ruling, Justice Susan Griffin concluded that the B.C. government did not bargain in good faith with the BCTF. She struck down legislation restricting teacher bargaining of classroom conditions and imposed a $2 million penalty on the government.

 

Just Posted

UPDATE: Reports of rashes prompt pool closures at Harrison Hot Springs

Public pool available after all five mineral pools closed until further notice

Chilliwack’s Chief Ernie Crey a firm pipeline supporter

Crey lauds NEB focus on marine safety in his role representing Indigenous oversight committee

Measles case confirmed within Fraser Health region

One case within Fraser Health is related to the outbreak in three Vancouver schools.

Harrison Festival to share the culture behind the music

Festival director Andy Hillhouse will be talking about nationalism in music, starting March 4

Risk of ‘deadly avalanches’ leads to warning for B.C.’s south coast

Weak layer of snow on Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland could trigger an avalanche

VIDEO: Wheelchairs teach Agassiz students acceptance through sport

Teacher Donna Gallamore brought wheelchairs to the Kent Elementary for learning and fun

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

Legislation to protect B.C. farmland comes into effect

Regulations enhance food security, encourage long-term farming

Have you heard the legend of Shuswaggi, the Shuswap Lake monster?

Witness accounts as old as 1904, and as recent as 2018, place a creature in the lake’s depths

UPDATE: B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

B.C.-based ‘Team Tardi’ brings home gold in junior curling worlds

In a 9-4 victory over Switzerland, a Langley-based curling team earned its 2nd straight world title

People gather for funeral of seven children killed in fast-moving Halifax fire

Traditional portion of the service will be followed by words from community members

B.C. weavers to help Alaska Native project honouring survivors of violence

Dozens of Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers from all over North America will be weaving 5-inch-by-5-inch squares

B.C. skip Sarah Wark and team eliminated at Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Nontheless pretty impressive stuff from the 24th-ranked team in the country

Most Read