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Teachers delay job action vote

The teachers' have postponed their decision on further action against Bill 22, even though the controversial legislation could pass as early as next Thursday.

The BC Teachers' Federation made the decision last night after the final day of a three-day teachers' walkout to protest the Education Improvement Act. The proposed legislation, also known as Bill 22, was introduced over a week ago by the Ministry of Education, forces teachers to cease all job action and makes strikes punishable by daily fines.

BCTF President Susan Lambert says teachers will continue with the Phase 1 job action this week and next, where teachers abstain from extra duties like meetings with administration and filling out report cards, until the BCTF Annual General Meeting (AGM) March 17- 20.

"We will be presenting an action plan to protest and resist Bill 22 to the Annual General Meeting, and that may involve the recommendation to have a membership vote as well. So that will be all up to the AGM," Lambert told The Tyee.

Lambert says the options are open for the vote, running the gamut of job action possibilities.

The union could still strike for one day next week according to the Labour Relations Board ruling made last week, but although the teachers haven't decided yet, Lambert says it's not an ideal time.

"About a third of locals have a spring break starting tomorrow, so there will be about a third of our members who will be gone for next week," she explained.

Education Minister George Abbott is telling the media that Bill 22, which is currently undergoing its second reading, could be passed by the end of next week.

Lambert hopes amendments proposed by the New Democratic Party will convince government to at least alter the legislation, which she says is "terrible for public education," but vows to fight the legislation as it is.

Katie Hyslop reports on education and youth issues for The Tyee and The Tyee Solutions Society.

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