Teachers to start job action

Kevin Godden, superintendent, Abbotsford School District. - News file photo
Kevin Godden, superintendent, Abbotsford School District.
— image credit: News file photo

Phase one of teacher job action is expected to commence Wednesday after the B.C. Teachers' Federation (BCTF) issued 72-hour strike notice Monday.

This initial step in a three-phase plan will not impact students, according to Abbotsford School District (ASD) superintendent Kevin Godden, a sentiment echoed by Abbotsford District Teachers' Association (ADTA) president Doug Smuland.

Teachers will not perform non-essential duties, as determined by the Labour Relations Board. This includes attending meetings and communication with management, in addition to supervision of students before and after school, during lunch hour and recess.

While this action does not add extra financial stress to the ASD, said Godden, "I'm very concerned about deploying people away from their duties" to ensure supervision is handled.

This extra work slows down the operation of the business of running the district, he continued.

Teachers will continue to take attendance, mark and assess student work, complete report cards and volunteer for extra-curricular activities, such as coaching, said a letter that went out to parents April 22 from Godden.

Smuland said he hasn't heard any negative feedback from parents via local teachers so far.

In addition to wage increases to bring B.C. teachers closer to parity with their counterparts across the country, he said one of the union's most pressing concerns is class size.

Phase two of the BCTF plan is rotating one-day walkouts in districts around the province. Phase three, a full-scale strike, would require a second vote by members to authorize.


Support staff strike vote

Abbotsford School District's support staff have also voted recently to strike, but so far, district  administration has not yet received any communication from Teamsters Local 31 when action may begin. The union is required to issue 72-hour notice.

Support staff include clerical, educational assistants, bus drivers, custodians and maintenance workers.

Comment from a representative of Local 31 was not available by The News' press deadline.

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