B.C. Liberals an enormous bully
First, I would like to comment on the selective reporting from most media across the province.
Teachers and our union representatives have tried on numerous occasions to get our issues out to the public. However, harsh editing or blatant refusal to print our views has resulted in selective and, at times, sensationalistic reporting.
The public needs to realize that salary is important, but it is not the reason for our escalating job action.
For the last 10 years, the B.C. Liberal government has ignored the laws that protect workers and illegally stripped contracts of teachers and hospital workers.
Even after the Supreme Court ruled the stripping to be unconstitutional, the Liberals chose to ignore it. The Liberals refuse to negotiate; if they don’t get their way, they just create another bill.
Teachers gave up many years of wage increases to get guaranteed class sizes and supports for kids. Then, with legislation, all the financial gains we had sacrificed meant nothing. All it did was put our wages further behind other teachers in the country and put our students at risk for not succeeding.
Ten years of cuts have greatly affected our classrooms. Teachers are spending thousands of dollars of their own money to supplement a lack of resources and supplies. As well, support for students with learning difficulties and severe behaviours has become minimal, resulting in kids falling further behind and staff and students being at risk for injury.
Now comes Bill 22.
The media reported it as a “cooling-down period” so negotiations can continue. However, this bill does nothing to cool off teachers.
What it does do is further strip our rights to class size and the number of special-needs kids. With this bill, there will be no limits, as the principal and superintendent are given the power to increase classes to whatever they feel like.
It also suggests mediation, but the only things that can be negotiated are attacks on our job security and seniority. Bill 22 has nothing to do with improving the education system. It has everything to do with removing unionized workers of their rights.
This government does not respect working-class people. It does not respect those needing medical care. It does not respect kids.
It only cares about stripping money from the middle class and poor and giving it to its rich, corporate friends. This attack needs to stop now. All unions need to stand together and put a stop to this enormous bully, our B.C. Liberal government.