VIDEO: Students, teachers, Jim Iker picketing at Vancouver's Britannia Secondary
The pickets were out at Vancouver's Britannia Secondary School, where students, teachers, and BCTF President Jim Iker were out to protest and strike on what was supposed to be the first day of school.
"How are we going to make up for this?" asked Grade 12 astudent Queena Zeng.
"My education is being affected in a really negative way," said Grade 10 student George Tso. "I am losing time and I have a lot of required courses to graduate in the first place. If I'm not able to complete those courses properly and on the first time, there's a high chance that my graduation itself may be postponed, depending on the course."
Teacher Troy Hardwick said he wanted to be in the school today, at the front of his classroom.
"I think the big thing is, is it short-term pain? Absolutely," he said. "Obviously, we wanted to be in the building today. We wanted the kids to be in the building today. I wanted to be at the front of my classroom, handing out textbooks and signing stuff out and talking about what we're gonna do this year."
His colleague Tobey Steeves echoed his sentiments.
"We're fighting for something bigger than just salary and benefits," he said. "And because my colleagues are out here on the line with me, standing firm, for a better deal for kids."
Iker laid out the week ahead, and said he would be making a phone call to government negotiator Peter Cameron later on Tuesday in an effort to return to the bargaining table.
"The government says they want to come back to the table, so let's get there," he said. "I'm hoping government has something to offer us, too. It's always better to be talking than not talking.
"Through talking, then hopefully we can find ways forward."
Video/Files: The Canadian Press