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

Cache Creek landfill extension set for September completion

Project has been delayed due to wildfires and floods over past two years

Drag races set to return for Graffiti Days weekend

Annual event features old favourites like the smoke show, and new events like a drive-in movie

Bonaparte River fishway, Thompson steelhead among projects awarded grant funding

More than $9 million will help 170 fish and wildlife projects around B.C.

Wellness clinics provide free, drop-in health information

New service in Clinton helps patients manage their health care and stay out of hospital

B.C.’s fight to regulate bitumen through pipelines to go to Canada’s top court

BC Appeal Court judges found B.C. cannot restrict bitumen flow along Trans Mountain pipeline

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parent’s cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

B.C. man who fell off cliff returns there to rescue eagle from vulture attack

Nanaimo’s James Farkas, who broke his hip in a fall, saves eagle on same beach months later

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

Most Read