Teachers may not stand idle for ‘bullying’
Bill 22 was slapped on teachers because they asked BCPSEA (B.C. Public Schools Employers Association) for three things; salaries in line with most other provinces, the repeal/compensation of the unconstitutional Bills 27 and 28, and the reinstatement of local bargaining.
Average weekly earnings in private sector in B.C. are up 3.2 per cent, as reported by Statistics Canada, so why should government workers take less? Salary demands might have been negotiated, suffice to say. Instead of being reasonable, government legislated the “net-zero” mandate, wasting taxpayers’ money with successive aggressive and disrespectful ads.
Teachers gave up three days’ pay only to have Bill 22 pass, stifling teacher voices, continuing the illegal stripping of contracts and establishing a top-down, undemocratic corporate education model. Ironically, there are hundreds of public workers who did not settle for net zero but again government wasted millions lying to the public about it, to get their business vote.
During the course of the next couple of weeks, teachers will reflect upon their desire to live with the consequences of allowing this government to take away the democratic right of free collective bargaining. Will we allow this or any government to take it now, knowing inaction will not stop a repeated assault on us and on the rest of the workers of this province?
Not an easy choice for educators when they vote for their Action Plan. The government-appointed mediator does not seem to be truly independent nor have the restrictions of Bill 22 been lifted to facilitate the parties in reaching a freely negotiated collective agreement, but we will try.
If mediation fails, it will be time to direct your criticism to government as teachers may not stand idly by to this kind of bullying.
Neovi Patsicakis, Surrey teacher