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School District 43 teachers hold study sessions to protest legislation

Terry Fox music teacher Steve Sainas, front, with a sign showing how he usually spends his lunch hour. - DIANE STRANDBERG/THE TRI-CITY NEWS
Terry Fox music teacher Steve Sainas, front, with a sign showing how he usually spends his lunch hour.
— image credit: DIANE STRANDBERG/THE TRI-CITY NEWS

Teachers in School District 43 spent their lunch breaks in study sessions or protesting government plans to impose a settlement.
At Terry Fox secondary in Port Coquitlam Monday afternoon, about 30 teachers wore black and posed for photos with signs they made showing what they usually do on their lunch breaks to support students.
"We're doing this in solidarity," explained Robert Harding, an English teacher, who said teachers want a fair settlement and don't want a contract imposed on them by the government.
Harding said the government is trying to divide teachers and should be focusing on services to special needs students that were denied when bills 27 and 28 were passed.
The government has offered to improve class size and composition with a $165 million Learning Improvement Fund, but the BC Teachers Federation says the money is not enough to made a difference for students.
Steve Sainas, one of the teachers who organized the protest, said teachers want the public to know that they work hard to support students.
Meanwhile, the BC Teachers Federation will seek approval from the Labour Relations Board for a full-scale strike. The province's 41,000 teachers are expected to vote on whether to escalate job action Tuesday and Wednesday with results to be made available on Thursday.
Last week a fact-finder issued a report stating that the BCTF and the BC Public Schools' Employer Association were far apart on the issue of wages because the union is seeking 15% over three years and the government has a net zero mandate.
The teachers are calling for mediation or arbitration to avoid a legislated contract.
"The government has a choice. It can help find the compromises necessary to reach a settlement, or it can use bullying legislation that will only make matters worse," BCTF president Susan Lambert stated in a press release.
dstrandberg@tricitynews.com

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