In a move that is proving unpopular with students and parents the BC Teachers Federation has voted to go on strike this coming Monday. The strike is for three days (the maximum current legislation allows).
The main issue is pay. Teachers’ pay is set by contracts with the Provincial government. The current contract has expired and the strike is part of a long series of moves in the bargaining.
How badly are BC Teachers paid?
From what I have been able to find BC teachers rank somewhere toward the bottom of pay scales across the country. For example a teacher an inexperienced teacher with a degree gets the following salary:
- $61,489 in Edmonton, AB
- $61,038 in Calgary, AB
- $51,378 in Toronto, ON (secondary school)
- $50,259 in Winnipeg, MB
- $48,626 in Victoria, BC
- $48,083 in Vancouver, BC
- $47,074 in Nova Scotia
- $40,067 in Quebec
If you were to look at the top of this pay scale (about 10-12 years teaching experience), BC continues to rank pretty low:
- $95,354 in Edmonton, AB
- $95,073 in Calgary, AB
- $89,614 in Toronto, ON
- $76,425 in Winnipeg, MB
- $74,353 in Vancouver, BC
- $74,353 in Victoria, BC
- $71,946 in Quebec
- $67,186 in Nova Scotia
Problem is that teachers walking out on the job leaves a lot of parents in a mess. Childcare arrangements need to be made. Older children, with their eyes on graduation, are worried about their grades and preparation for exams too.
The B.C. government is playing hardball. They’re talking about changing the law to prevent teachers from striking until August. They are also committed to a zero wage increase policy for government employees. The union is looking for a 15% increase over three years. Quite a divide.
I know a few teachers and a lot of them feel pretty strongly about this issue. On the other hand kids and parents (and the general public) seems to be largely against this.
What do you think?