BURNABY – CUPE BC says the Christy Clark government’s latest political ploy in its dispute with the BC Teachers Federation demonstrates the BC Liberals’ lack of commitment to education and shines a light on the failure of the government to deliver affordable child care in British Columbia.
“This government is using children as pawns, making a mockery of child care, and showing they see collective bargaining with teachers as a purely partisan political exercise,” said CUPE BC President Mark Hancock. “Instead of trying to bribe parents with their own tax dollars, Christy Clark and the Liberals should properly fund K-12 education and work with teachers to achieve a negotiated settlement—before classes are scheduled to resume in September.”
Hancock also said that CUPE members are concerned about both the ongoing shortage of public child care services and potential safety issues around non-regulated child care. “If every parent took the government’s $40 per day for child care, where will the spaces come from? We hear all the time from parents who literally can’t find child care—a direct result of 13 years of BC Liberal government—but somehow those spaces will magically appear in September?”
The government announced yesterday that if the strike isn’t settled by September, parents would be able to register online for a subsidy of $40 per school day for every child under the age of 13. The money will come from the $12 million per day the government “saves” each day schools are closed.
“CUPE BC continues to support teachers in this province in their fight for public education,” said Hancock. “We continue to stand with the BCTF and urge the government to get back to the bargaining table and negotiate a fair and reasonable contract so kids can go back to school in September.”
CUPE’s K-12 education sector has ratified a provincial framework agreement and individual locals are bargaining local agreements with their respective school boards. CUPE represents 27,000 education support workers throughout B.C.