The Premier’s Office replies to letter of support:

Even while negotiations are taking place, the premier’s office still sends out a blame the teachers message. The question is, is trust possible?
Charles
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Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2005 12:34:34 -0700
From: “OfficeofthePremier, Office PREM:EX”
Subject: RE: In Support of Teachers
To: “‘cmenzies@interchange.ubc.ca'”

Thank you for your email regarding the teachers’ dispute. . . . >Dowhatisay.png

Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2005 12:34:34 -0700
From: “OfficeofthePremier, Office PREM:EX”
Subject: RE: In Support of Teachers
To: “‘cmenzies@interchange.ubc.ca'”

Thank you for your email regarding the teachers’ dispute.

Last month, a fact-finder appointed to identify issues hindering negotiations determined that no reasonable possibility of a negotiated settlement exists. After eighteen months at the table and thirty-five
meetings, the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) did not agree on a single item. In light of this, our government introduced the Teachers’ Collective Agreement Act. This Act extends teachers’ existing contract until June 30, 2006, at which time teachers will be able to seek a wage increase.

This will also give our government the opportunity to review teacher bargaining in British Columbia. The current bargaining model between the BCTF and BCPSEA has never resulted in a negotiated contract. Clearly, this is a dysfunctional structure in serious need of repair. We have appointed veteran mediator Vince Ready to lead an Industrial Inquiry Commission to recommend a new process for reaching collective agreements with teachers before bargaining resumes. The Wright Report, released in December 2004, provides a starting point for careful examination of this issue.

Pursuant to the Supreme Court of British Columbia’s ruling, we are imploring teachers to cease their illegal strike and return to their classrooms. We are willing to meet with union representatives to find solutions; however, we cannot do so as long as teachers remain in contempt of court. We are also urging the BCTF to accept our invitation to the Learning Roundtable, where all participants will have an opportunity to discuss class size, class composition, and other crucial issues related to learning conditions.

Our government supports teachers and remains unequivocally committed to providing students with the best possible public education. We have added $150 million this year to the education budget, which increases total education funding to more than $5 billion for the first time in our province’s history. We are interested in hearing teachers’ ideas on how to further improve our education system, and to this end, we are establishing a Teachers’ Congress to allow teachers to communicate directly with the provincial government.

Again, thank you for sharing your views with me on this important issue. Please visit www.mediaroom.gov.bc.ca/teacher_negotiations for the latest information.

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