SURREY – Teachers in Surrey and White Rock are off the job today (May 29) as the B.C. Teachers’ Federation rotating strikes hit the province’s largest school district.
While students already had Monday off due to a previously scheduled professional development day, today’s cancelling of classes is part of day four of rotating teacher strikes around the province.
Delta’s educators picketed schools Wednesday.
In a letter to parents, Surrey school district superintendent Jordan Tinney laid out how the current job action would be impacting local schools, as teachers will also experience partial a lock out measures on the days they do work.
"This will impact some student activities. In addition to the partial lockout, teachers’ wages will be reduced by 10 per cent and BCPSEA has informed teachers that they will be locked out for the full day at secondary schools on June 25th and 26th and then for all schools in the district on June 27th," wrote Tinney.
As for graduation ceremonies in Surrey and White Rock, Tinney said those would be going ahead as planned and the events are scheduled to take place at their original locations and time.
Last week, BCPSEA’s negotiator Peter Cameron said teachers were free to partake in extracurricular activities and grad ceremonies, as the lockout would not affect volunteer activities.
"We have no problem with teachers attending grad ceremonies," said Cameron Thursday. "You can’t lock someone out for unpaid work."
Tinney also said that provincial exam schedules should still be OK, but processing and issuing year-end report cards could be disrupted in some way.
"Teachers will continue to teach and mark but clearly with the partial lockout, the routine completion of report cards may present challenges that we will have to address. Look for more information to come on this topic," he said.
Some field trips in the district may also have to be cancelled due to the dispute, as "without teacher participation, appropriate supervision of students cannot be ensured."
On Monday, teachers across Surrey staged a mass ‘mark-in’ at four local malls in response to being locked out of their respective schools within 45 minutes of beginning and ending the school day.
"This lock out is so disrespectful," said Fraser Heights Secondary school teacher Julia MacRae, sitting amidst a pile of English 10 and 12 essays.
MacRae was one of many teachers who sat in at Guildford Town Centre, Semiahmoo Shopping Centre, Surrey Central City Shopping Centre and Scottsdale Mall food courts doing their after-school marking.
Meanwhile, Tinney urged parents to stay up to date with the latest news affecting their schools and districts by checking surreyschools.ca. "We regret the impacts associated with the current labour dispute and appreciate your patience as we continue to navigate through June," he concluded. "Once again, we all hope for a speedy resolution at the bargaining table."
With files from Kristi Alexandra