Taking the high ground in a prolonged labour dispute, the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) has requested binding arbitration. BC Premiere Christy Clark and Minister of Education Peter Fassbender have been counter-productive in agitating the teachers to suspend the strike. Feeling the pressures of sustained job action– the likes of which BC has not seen in a long time– the Premier and Minister have consistently underestimated the BCTF and made a series of awkward mistakes.
Now, here again is the BCTF taking the high ground and waiting for the Liberals’ response.
BCTF, September 5, 2014– Today, in an effort to find a fair settlement for all parties involved, open schools, and get children and teachers back into classrooms, the BCTF has called for binding arbitration. If the BC Public School Employers’ Association agrees to binding arbitration, the BCTF would quickly put the vote to teachers to end the strike.
BCTF President Jim Iker made the announcement as teachers across the province gathered together for study sessions.
His speaking notes (check against delivery at http://new.livestream.com/BCTF/Sept0514) are below.
First, I want to speak directly to the 40,000 teachers watching around the province in today’s study sessions.
Your determination, solidarity, and support move me every day. You have given up so much for your students and the future of BC’s education system. All British Columbians owe you their gratitude.
Earlier this week, I outlined a simple, pragmatic, and practical way forward to ensure all parties involved reach a fair settlement so we can get schools open.
I also said we would consider all options and close no doors.
So today, I would like to open another one.
Throughout this dispute, BC teachers have led the way in trying to reach a fair deal that gives our students more support. We have made moves, proposed creative ideas, and taken job action only when absolutely necessary.
In return, the government has put up road blocks.
Their focus has been on delay tactics, a $40-a-day payout scheme, and attack ads on Twitter.
I hope that all comes to an end today.
This week, the BCTF Executive Committee met with our provincial Bargaining Team and we are proposing another way forward to get students and teachers back in the classroom.
Today, we are not closing any doors, just opening a new one. Mediation with Vince Ready in our view is still a viable option. However, BCPSEA and government made it clear last weekend that they were not ready or willing to get the job done.
They did not respond in any meaningful way to any of the significant moves teachers made.
Today, we are putting forward another option for all of us—government and teachers to resolve this dispute and reach a fair settlement.
Today, the BCTF is calling on BCPSEA and the BC Liberal government to agree to binding arbitration.
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