OUR VIEW: Strike hurting no one but kids

When teachers strike, it's the students who suffer the consequences

When teachers walked off the job on Tuesday and Wednesday this week (Saanich school district teachers had a Pro-D Day on Monday), they said they did so for the kids.

Classrooms are too crowded, teachers say, and too many individualized learning plans make it too hard to teach.

But with the teachers’ union asking for a 16 per cent wage increase and better benefits, the “for the kids” line doesn’t add up.

Had teachers taken to the picket lines saying they’d forgo their hefty wage and benefits demands if the education ministry would pump the money it would cost – $2 billion according to the province, $431 million according to the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association – into boosting funding for programs that would actually help our kids, we’d feel a little more sympathetic.

Teachers work hard. They are responsible for our children’s education. They say they deserve the pay they’re asking for. But David Hahn tried the get-what-you-pay-for line, too. That landed him as the now former CEO of B.C. Ferries after public outcry over his outrageous salary.

Children aren’t coming out ahead in the teacher strike that follows nearly a year of failed or stalled bargaining. When teachers strike, they walk out on students and often leave parents to foot the bill for alternative child care.

Neither the government, nor the teachers, are conducting themselves properly in negotiations. With neither side willing to budge, it seems this strike was inevitable all along.

Unfortunately, in a time when more employers are considering layoffs than pay rises and many government sectors are being cut back, the teachers’ plea for better pay is hard to digest.