The B.C. teachers strike is coming closer to reality after union members voted overwhelmingly in favor of a walk-out.
The union says that 86 percent of its members, or 28,809 of the 33,387 who cast ballots, voted for a strike.
Rotating strikes will continue across British Columbia this week, Teachers’ Federation president Jim Iker told CBC, and a full strike hasn’t been officially approved.
“We want a deal definitely by the end of June and we want a deal earlier than that,” said Iker.
“If we get that deal, there will be no more job action, there will be no more lockouts and we can go into the summer knowing we’ve got some certainty for September for our students and for our teachers.”
The full strike could be averted if a deal can be reached.
“BC teachers have shown incredible strength and commitment during the rotating strikes and the government’s chaotic lockout,” said Iker. “More than ever, parents understand that this fight is about quality education for students and fairness for teachers.”
The union has given the required three days notice, although it stressed that a final decision hasn’t been made. A strike could start on Monday afternoon.
Education Minister Peter Fassbender said in a statement that the vote wasn’t surprising.
“While the BCTF leadership received the mandate they sought, no one should interpret this as any kind of enthusiasm on the part of teachers to shut down schools,” he said, reported the Canadian Press.
“I know teachers would prefer to be in their classrooms and I know that students and parents would rather finish this school year on a positive note. It is now up to the BCTF leadership to decide if they are going to move to a full walkout.”
Premier Christy Clark said that a settlement is within range.
“It’s well within the realm,” she said hours before the vote tally was revealed. “If there’s a will, there’s a way. And there’s certainly a will on my part and on the government’s part.”