Communist Party of British Columbia, June 12, 2014

“The overwhelming vote by B.C. Teachers Federation members to go to a full strike as of June 17 is a powerful stand against the Liberal government’s strategy to undermine the collective bargaining process and generate chaos across the public education system,” said Communist Party of BC leader George Gidora today.

During the initial period of rotating one-day strikes and confusing employer lockouts, the teachers have remained solid on the picket line. Parents, students, and the majority of the general public clearly support the BCTF, in opposition to the bullying tactics of Premier Christy Clark.

The Communist Party of BC again calls for full mobilization of the labour movement and its allies in defence of the BCTF,” said Gidora. “The wave of public anger against the Liberal education cuts across the province shows that a wider resistance can be mobilized to defeat the government’s agenda. Such a broad fightback can become a rallying point for a powerful struggle to roll back the entire Liberal assault on all public services.

“Christy Clark was the education minister in the early years of Gordon Campbell’s Liberal government, which imposed devastating education cutbacks and illegally ripped up the collective bargaining agreements negotiated by the BCTF. Today, the Premier continues to demonize public school teachers and their union, while students pay the price for her government’s stubborn refusal to reach a fair collective agreement with the union.

“But this struggle is much bigger in scope. The entire public health and education sector is under ruthless attack. In country after country, austerity policies have created higher unemployment and slashed the quality of public services, as part of a drive to shift the wealth produced by working people into the hands of transnational corporations and their wealthy shareholders. BC Liberal taxation cuts for the rich and the corporate sector have cost the public treasury over two billion dollars annually for the past twelve years, enough to reverse the underfunding of education and the health care system, to boost social assistance rates by 50%, to build housing for all the homeless living in our streets, and to do much more to improve the lives of working people and the poor. The Liberals, similar to capitalist governments everywhere, support the wealthy and the corporations, not the vast majority of working people.

“The goal of the BC Liberals is to create endless crises in the public education system, not to improve schools. They want to impose a form of unofficial privatization by forcing British Columbians to turn to profiteering private school operators to educate our children.

“We urge every parent, every student, every school trustee, everyone concerned for the future of our province, to join the teachers on their picket lines. Our message must be: roll back the education cuts! Negotiate a fair collective agreement with BC teachers, including salaries in line with other provinces, and smaller class sizes!”