NEWS
05/28/2014 11:26 EDT | Updated 07/28/2014 05:59 EDT

B.C. teachers' strike: decision expected today on next move

The B.C. Teachers' Federation will announce this afternoon if it plans to continue its strike action next week, as closed-door negotiations continue with government representatives today.

President Jim Iker described the state of contract negotiations as "status quo," and said he'll announce at the end of the day what further job action teachers might take next week.

The BCTF could extend the rotating strike for another week, but any escalation of the job action, such as a full strike, would likely require a vote of support from the union's membership first.

This week B.C.'s 41,000 teachers have been staging rotating one-day strikes affecting every district in the province.

The government has also issued a partial lockout notice restricting the amount of time teachers can spend at schools during non-teaching hours.

The BCTF says the lockout prevents teachers from taking part in extracurricular activities such as graduation ceremonies because of liability issues, but the government says that is not the case.

Negotiations continue today

Meanwhile contract negotiations continue behind closed doors today. Key issues include wages, class sizes and composition.

Teachers are asking for a 15.9 percent increase over four years. Government is offering 7.25 percent over six years plus a signing bonus.

Premier Christy Clark said the face-to-face negotiations are the best hope for a resolution.              

"The less time the parties spend in the room bargaining the longer this is going to take. I hope we could could get this settled in 24 hours, 48 hours, if people would sit down, decide not to strike," said Clark on Tuesday.

But Iker says it up to the government to make the next move at the negotiating table.

"What we need is the premier to actually instruct the employer, their bargaining team to give them the actual funding it will take to get a fair deal for teachers," said Iker on Tuesday.

               

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