Public support for teachers in labour dispute takes big fall in latest survey

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education School closed strike teacher teachers BCTF labour action / Shutterstock

Public support for teachers in the ongoing labour dispute has taken a significant fall, according to a new survey performed earlier this week, just days before school was scheduled to begin on September 2.

The new independent survey by Angus Reid Global indicated that 36 per cent of responded are more inclined to support teachers in the dispute while 35 per cent support the provincial government. Nearly a quarter of respondents or 23 per cent support neither parties.

In contrast, a June 2014 survey taken just weeks after the full-scale strike began indicated 44 per cent were in support of teachers and 31 per cent.

Those who are parents and guardians of children have also softened their support for teachers, with 38 per cent taking the teachers’ side and 34 per cent supporting the government. Conversely, previous polls conducted in June indicated support for teachers was two-to-one over the government – 49 per cent vs. 25 per cent.

There has also been changes to opinion on the proposed salary increases. 42 per cent of respondents now say teachers are asking for too much money and 12 per cent say the government offer is too low, compared to 36 per cent and 21 per cent in June. However, nearly half or 46 per cent want both parties to compromise on wage issues.

When it comes to the decade-long issue of class size and composition, support for the government’s position has increased. 55 per cent of all respondents say the government should following the court ruling, down from 62 per cent in June. Support for the decision to appeal has also risen to 45 per cent, up from 38 per cent in the last survey.

British Columbians are highly pessimistic about the likelihood of the BCTF and provincial government reaching an agreement by the first day of classes on Tuesday. 89 per cent say it is unlikely and the remaining 11 per cent believe an agreement in the next 96 hours will be achieved.

Half of respondents with children or 51 per cent say the continued job action would have an impact, but they would be able to manage around it, while nearly a third or 29 per cent said the strike would have a “major” impact. One-fifth of respondents or 20 per cent said the strike would have “not much impact” on them.

In terms of the length of strike, 41 per cent of respondents with children in public school say they can manage for as long as it takes. Another 17 per cent say they can manage a few days or a few weeks. Currently, 8 per cent say they are already at a breaking point and cannot manage.

 

Feature Image: school strike via Shutterstock

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