Burnaby parents are calling for an end to the teacher labour dispute while local teachers once again taken to the picket lines during the last week before the scheduled start of school.
The Burnaby district parent advisory council (DPAC) has written a letter to both the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) urging them to start negotiations in earnest so the start of the school year Sept. 2 is not delayed.
“We know our teachers, district staff and trustees care deeply about students and education, but parents are finding it increasingly difficult to see how a prolonged labour dispute is in the best interest of our students’ immediate educational needs,” DPAC Chair Jen Mezei said in a press release Saturday.
Mezei said the local parent group also endorses the recommendations of a summit of district parent advisory councils hosted by the BCCPAC Aug. 16.
At that meeting, parents called for schools to be opened on time and negotiations between the province and teachers to continue behind closed doors if necessary.
Burnaby teachers, meanwhile, plan to picket all school district sites every day in the week leading up to Sept. 2.
“We want to make it clear that we want BCPSEA to get to the table and enter into mediation with us,” Burnaby Teachers’ Association president Rae Figursky told the NOW. “We want a deal before Sept. 2.”
Teachers launched a full-scale strike June 17 after three weeks of rotating strikes.
The main sticking points in the labour dispute are wages, class size and class composition.
The two sides have not met in formal, face-to-face talks since Aug. 8.
If the strike continues past Sept. 2, the provincial government has promised parents $40 a day for each student under the age of 13 for child care and educational activities to be paid out after the strike is over.
For more information about the offer, visit bcparentinfo.ca/parent-support-resources.