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B.C. government seeks order forcing teachers to mark exams

Striking teachers and support staff who joined them on the picket line wave to a driver that showed support by honking their car horn outside Terry Fox Secondary School in Port Coquitlam, B.C., on Thursday, June 5, 2014

darryl dyck The Globe and Mail

The B.C. government's bargaining agent is seeking an order that will compel unionized teachers to mark exams in the event of a full-scale strike.

The BC Public School Employers' Association has asked the B.C. Labour Relations Board to designate all services that are required to complete Grades 10 to 12 report cards as essential services.

Its application argues "serious and immediate damage" will be caused to secondary students' educational programs if final grades are not compiled.

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The request comes in response to an announcement Wednesday by the B.C. Teachers' Federation that it will hold a strike vote on Monday and Tuesday seeking support from members for a full withdrawal of services.

Earlier this week, Education Minister Peter Fassbender pledged that all critical exams would be graded to avoid putting students in jeopardy.

The union is required to give three days notice before teachers walk of the job, and negotiators have been bargaining for the past two days and are scheduled to be at the table from Monday through Thursday next week.

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