As thousands of teachers and supporters flooded onto the lawns of the legislature, the B.C. government was taking action to secure a Labour Relations Board injunction preventing striking educators from cross-picketing at government offices.
The action followed the appearance Tuesday morning of picketers at various worksites in downtown Victoria. Teachers greeted unionized government staff members as they arrived for work.
“In government’s view, this strike activity is illegal,” Finance Minister Kevin Falcon said in a release.
“We are encouraging all staff to come to work as normal. Managers are available to help staff enter the building if they feel intimidated by these disruptive tactics. However, normal pay policy applies, and staff who do not come to work will not be paid for the day.”
The B.C. Federation of Labour was arranging to sign up for strike pay any union members who chose to walk off the job in support of the teachers.
Staffers from Torquay elementary in Saanich were among those walking the line in front of a building on Superior Street in Victoria. They said the response has been “very positive.”
“We’ve been told by the B.C. Fed that we’re supported,” said Grade 2 teacher Laura Leno.
B.C. Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair said Monday that unionized workers across the Capital Region, including members of the B.C. Government Employees’ Union, would be joining the teachers in protest of Bill 22.
That proposed legislation, being debated this week in the legislature, calls for a cooling off period, among other things, that would make the teachers’ strike illegal.