BC Ministry Proposes to Make Teachers Pay for Job Action

by Stephen Petrina on March 9, 2012

BCTF President Lambert (Photo by Rick Ernst, PNG)

As if Bill 22 could not get worse for labour, the British Columbia Ministry of Education proposed today to make teachers pay for past job action.  The BCTF rejected out of hand Minister Abbott’s proposal that teachers retroactively make up work lost to job action.  BCTF President Susan Lambert scoffed that “Minister Abbott is ignoring a commonly accepted labour relations principle: struck work is simply not done.”  Increasingly, the BC Liberals seem intent on decimating long-established principles of labour and, as UBC Professor Joel Bakan wrote in the Vancouver Sun, wanting to play fast and loose with labour law.  “Governments are obliged to govern according to law,” said Bakan. “That is what distinguishes democracies from tyrannies. As a fundamental democratic principle, the rule of law is seriously jeopardized when governments play fast and loose with constitutional and international laws, as this government is now doing with Bill 22.”

Attempting to slow the the rushed passage of the questionable legislation, the NDP’s John Horgan introduced an amendment today to delete most of Bill 22 and bring in a mediator to, although it will be defeated, introduce fairness into the process. The amendment states: “it is not in the best interests of the education system in British Columbia for the government to legislate teachers back to work when an independent mediator could be appointed by the government and the Labour Relations Board to resolve the collective bargaining dispute without legislation.”

Read more: Vancouver Sun