Neither teachers nor province backing down



Columbia Valley teachers were back on the picket line on the morning of Tuesday, September 2nd, which normally would have marked the start of the school year , but the continuing labour dispute between the B.C. government and  teachers  union  is keeping public schools throughout the province closed.  Photo by Dan Walton
Columbia Valley teachers were back on the picket line on the morning of Tuesday, September 2nd, which normally would have marked the start of the school year , but the continuing labour dispute between the B.C. government and teachers union is keeping public schools throughout the province closed.Photo by Dan Walton

By Dan Walton

Pioneer Staff

With Labour Day over, and the teachers and the B.C. provincial government still at a stalemate, the looming threat of a strike to start off the 2014-2015 school year has been realized.

The teachers union and the government share a toxic history together, and theyve recently entered unchartered legal territory, leaving both sides under the impression that holding out is their best strategy.

Were all going to go back to work; we just dont know when or how, said Doug Murray, president of the Windermere Teachers Association.

Jim Iker, president of the British Columbia Teachers Federation (the teachers union), says the court victory from early in 2014 would become nullified under a new agreement, while Premier Christy Clark claims the teachers union is making excessive demands compared to their public sector counterparts.

The BCTF and the provincial government both claim classroom size and composition is the most critical issue under negotiation, and both claim that unfair compensation offers are preventing the discussion from moving forward.

As the provincial government appeals the B.C. Supreme Courts decision which favoured teachers, both parties also claim theyre trying to arrange an interim deal. The ongoing appeal has intensified the stalemate, however, as both sides are expecting the court to rule in their favour. The outcome of the appeal is expected to play a large role in shaping future contracts.

On Wednesday, September 3rd, Premier Clark held a special news conference at her office in Vancouver in which she asked teachers to suspend the strike.

Mr. Murray said thats what the BCTF has been trying to do.

The union is trying to make an interim deal until the court case is settled, he said. Put money [temporarily] into class sizes, help that situation, and then [teachers] will work until the court case is decided.

Premier Clark said that only the teachers union can end the strike, and she doesnt want to wait for the courts decision before negotiating classroom composition.

Both parties can agree that teachers in the province are deserving of a raise, but statistics comparing B.C. teachers to their provincial and federal counterparts are being used by both sides to justify their vastly different offers.

Teachers do deserve a raise, no question about that, Premier Clark said. But to be fair, we have to make sure that it reflects other public sector workers [in the province].

Mr. Murray wants to see teachers wages in B.C. reflect those of most other teachers in Canada. Were the second worst paid teachers in all of Canada, and its expensive to live here in B.C. And he said that students in the province are also being short-changed.

I want them to be funding students at least to the Canadian average ($11,393 per student in 2010-2011), and were about $1,000 below the national annual average per student ($10,405 per student in 2010-2011).

Just Posted

Jumbo saga reaches finale

A three-decade long disagreement comes to a close.

Province looking at steps to dissolve Jumbo resort municipality

Disincorporating municipality will likely require a legislative change, according to the province

Almost 20,000 parking tickets issued by Interior Health at hospitals in 2019

In 2018, pay parking in Interior Health hospitals totalled $5.3 million of their $2.2-billion budget

Ktunaxa, supporters celebrate protection of Qat’muk and the Jumbo valley

Speeches, acknowledgements and ceremonies mark an emotional gathering in Cranbrook

Former Waterside property to be rezoned?

Invermere residents supported rezoning Waterside property.

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Prince Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Here is a list of some things you definitely should NOT do, according to the BBC

B.C.-based Coulson Aviation C-130 crashes in Australia

Three people are confirmed dead in the crash in New South Wales

New nasal spray launched in Canada to combat hypoglycemic shock in diabetics

Baqsimi is a nasal spray contains three milligrams of glucagon

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Future space homes could be made of mushrooms

NASA explores use of fungi to build structures in space

Man killed by police in Lytton called 911, asking to be shot: RCMP

Howard Schantz, also known as Barry Schantz was killed following a standoff at his Lytton home

Canadian public health agencies ramping up preparations in response to new virus

Health officials have said there are no confirmed cases of the emerging coronavirus in Canada

‘Naughty boy’: Monty Python star Terry Jones dies at 77

The comedian has been suffering from a rare form of dementia

Most Read