BCTF and BCPSEA denied by another mediator


VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Another potential mediator has declined a request to get involved with the ongoing teachers dispute.

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Kelleher participated in exploratory talks with the BC Teachers’ Federation and the BC Public School Employers’ Association.

Kelleher has found that both sides remain too far apart for mediation to be effective.

“It was recognized that if the parties were in the same zone, mediation might help land a settlement. Unfortunately, through these exploratory discussions it became explicitly clear that the BCTF executive would not commit to tabling a set of demands that fall in the same affordability zone as the other public sector agreements reached to date,” Education Minister Peter Fassbender says in an emailed statement.

Fassbender adds the government is committed to balancing the budget and has an obligation to “deal fairly with all 300,000 B.C. public sector workers.”

“However, the BCTF continues to demand total compensation gains that are more than twice what other unions have settled for. On top of that, they are also pushing for hundreds of millions more each year in other contract demands,” he adds.

BCTF President Jim Iker says he’s disappointed that mediation won’t be productive at this point. “The government, by trying to impose a series of unworkable pre-conditions prior to entering mediation, hasn’t provided the flexibility to make mediation work.”

He says they are within one per cent of salary that should make mediation effective. “We propose funds to address class size, class composition, specialist levels, as well as a potential remedy to the governments unconstitutional legislation.”

Iker adds the government hasn’t offered any new money for class size, class composition, staffing levels for specialist teachers.

Last month, mediator Vice Ready declined a similar request to get involved with helping to end the dispute, saying he didn’t have time in his schedule.

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