Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The BC Liberals Government are morons and bullies

The teachers in the Province of British Columbia have been without a contract since June 2004 when their last contract with the government expired. In that contract, the basic terms were 0%, 0% and 0% pay raises over the three-year contract period. Under the new negotiations, the teachers are asking for a 2% increase per year over 3 years with market adjustments of 2%, 3% and 4% (market adjustments to bring the teachers' salary up to par with their counterparts in other parts of the country). The news media have seized on this as the union asking for a 15% increase which is a red herring as it's 4%, 5% and 6% over the years. Other requests included reduced class sizes which the government took away in the last contract.

The response from the government in the form of the Labour Minister, Mike de Jong, was the introduction of legislation (Bill 12) which is to extend the expired contract from June 2004 to June 2006 taking away the teachers' right to stand up for their rights (legally). That's just plain mean and the tactics of a bully. Now if the teachers decided to take job action, they will be breaking the law and there will be consequences which would include large fines and possible jail time for the Executives. The government had lots of time to negotiated before the contract expired last June but no, they have wait until this year to start talks and are offering a 0% increase over the three years with no major concessions.

As a parent of school-aged kids, I'm very concerned about the impact to my kids' education but I'm even more alarmed with the heavy handedness of the government. Remember this is the same government who tore up the contract for the nursing union (a contract that was negotiated in good faith) because it didn't suit them. This is a government that is led by a man convicted of drunk driving (driving under the influence) who have no morals or principles and have shown to be mean-spirited (as is evidenced when the opposition party could only garter two seats out of 77 but needed 3 to gain opposition funding and the Premier flat out refused thereby effectively making a government without any official opposition). NB: This was during the first term and they are currently on their second term with a lot less seats won.

Right now, it's confirmed that the teachers will stage a wildcat strike and walk off the job this Friday to protest against the passing of this legislation.

The teachers have my thanks and support for standing up to a bully.

Addendum: Now the government is threatening to fire any teachers who participate in the scheduled illegal strike (which over 90% voted in favour of).

4 comments:

Pete_S said...

That sounds appalling - my wife teaches; she has even thought of relocating to Canada but the prospect of so many years on fixed pay does not appeal.

BTW - Well done Vancouver

Peter K said...

Pete,
I have no relatives who are teachers and I gotta tell you that the work and dedication that they have to the kids are just amazing. I was an Executive of the Parent Advisory Committee last year and it was a very rewarding experience to be working with the teachers.

Best city to live - Vancouver? yeah!

Bill S. said...

I thought it took TWO parties to make a contract - how can the government "extend" the contract if the teacher's union doesn't want to? Sounds terribly one-sided and dictatorial if you ask me. To be fair, I am not a big supporter of unions (I have my own opinions, but they're mine ;-D) but I don't like government performing underhanded stunts to try and weasel out of something that they don't like. And isn't the education of the children the IMPORTANT thing here? Let's make sure the TEACHERS have the right tools AND THE ABILITY to properly teach - that's as far as government should go.

Peter K said...

bill s. said...
And isn't the education of the children the IMPORTANT thing here? Let's make sure the TEACHERS have the right tools AND THE ABILITY to properly teach - that's as far as government should go.


Yep. Unfortunately the current system was set up almost 10 years ago by the New Democrate Party (NDP) where there is an Association representing the employers (the public schools) but the funding came totally from the government. Since that time, the Teachers union and the Employers Association have never came to a negotiated contract but rather have had contracts imposed on them (twice on the Employers and now twice on the teachers).

To be fair, I am not a big supporter of unions (I have my own opinions, but they're mine ;-D) but I don't like government performing underhanded stunts to try and weasel out of something that they don't like.
Me either. I'm concerned with the bullying tactics used by the government. If they are willing to take away the rights of a certain group, then what's next? Right now, the Supreme Court has ruled that the walkout by the teachers is illegal and that they are in contempt of court but the teachers are saying that they are protesting an unjust law (legislation of Bill 12). The Premier has the gall to tell the teachers to respect the law and set a good example for the students. This coming from a guy who was convicted of drunk driving and yet refused to resign (even though he has insisted on his own cacus resigning if they are perceived to be in a conflict or broke the law)!