Teachers

Teachers

School board calls for arbitration panel

On Tuesday, the Board of Education approved sending a letter to Fassbender and the BCTF urging an arbitration panel.

More than 30,000 B.C. teachers voted almost unanimously Wednesday to end their strike if the B.C. government will send their dispute to binding arbitration.

The government, however, had already dismissed the province-wide vote, with Education Minister Peter Fassbender calling it a “ploy.”

In School District 5, board chair Frank Lento said he was not surprised by the results of the vote by teachers.

On Tuesday, the Board of Education approved sending a letter to Fassbender and the BCTF urging an arbitration panel.

“Each side would chose a representative and then each representative would chose a chairman,” explained Lento on Thursday. “Then it would be a panel for binding arbitration.

“The difference would be each party would select an arbitrator and then each arbitrator would select a chairperson. It’s something that’s happened in the past, years ago there would be arbitration panels to resolve disputes. So we sent that along for their consideration urging them to get the matter resolved.”

On August 5, Lento wrote the letter to Fassbender regarding the ongoing labour dispute.

“We wish to add our voices to the growing number of Boards across the province that are urging government to reach a fair, negotiated settlement prior to school start-up in September,” he wrote.

The letter went on to say that if an agreement can’t be reached, the board urges government to seek mediation or if necessary, binding arbitration.

“Our Board doesn’t see any long term benefits to a legislated resolution and anticipates considerable damage if agreement is not reached prior to school start-up in September.”

Lento ends the letter by saying: “Once again we remind government that education is not a cost to be managed but an investment to be made — in our children, our economy and our future.”

Fassbender had a statement waiting when the result was announced Wednesday evening by the B.C. Teachers’ Federation.

“As we have consistently made clear, binding arbitration would lead to unacceptable tax increases in this case,” Fassbender said. “That’s because the two sides remain too far apart on wages and benefits.”

BCTF president Jim Iker said the government is obstructing solutions to the dispute.

“This government has said no to arbitration, has tried to stall and block mediation, and has not moved on any monetary proposals in negotiations since June,” Iker said.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong said the union is seeking $315 million per year more than the government is offering, including wages, benefits and a fund to reduce class size and increase special needs support.

Now in the fourth week of full-scale strike action that began last spring, the BCTF received $8 million Wednesday from the B.C. Federation of Labour to use as a hardship fund for teachers who have lost more than four weeks’ pay. The B.C. Nurses’ Union put in another $500,000.

With files from Tom Fletcher

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 novel coronavirus vaccine candidate that’s ready for trial on monkeys at the National Primate Research Center of Thailand. (Mladen Antonov - AFP)
Interior Health reports 66 new COVID-19 infections

570 cases are active; 18 in hospital

Chris testing out the potential new van with his caregiver Kerry. Photo submitted.
Kimberley man starts GoFundMe for urgently needed wheelchair accessible van

Christopher Green, a Kimberley native currently residing in Tata Creek, has launched… Continue reading

(stock photo)
Josh Dueck named Team Canada chef de mission for 2022 Beijing Paralympics

An acclaimed Paralympic champion with local roots has been named to a… Continue reading

A woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 uses walking sticks while walking up a hill, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Interior Health reports 83 more COVID-19 infections overnight

46 cases are now associated with a COVID-19 community cluster in Revelstoke

What's happening at the Cranbrook Public Library
What’s on at the Cranbrook Public Library

Mike Selby The Library is now open with extended hours (with some… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

Most Read