B.C. teachers strike enters second school week

The two sides didn’t agree to binding arbitration


VANCOUVER — All half a million of British Columbia’s public school students remain locked out of their classrooms at the start of the second week of the school year as the teachers strike continues.

Over the weekend, the province rejected a deal that tried to end — or at least suspend — the strike.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender says he would not agree to binding arbitration after government negotiator Peter Cameron advised against the idea, saying the proposal was not serious.

Cameron says the teachers did not give government a written proposal and failed to guarantee the end of the strike.

But Jim Iker of the BC Teachers’ Federation says the union would have asked its members to vote to end the job action, and government was being inflexible.

If both sides had gone forward with the deal, a third party would have been appointed to draw out contract details that teachers and government would have been forced to agree upon.

Fassbender had previously given a cool response to the idea, but stopped short of “categorically” rejecting the proposal.

However, since Cameron’s suggestion, it appears arbitration is completely out of the picture.

After government’s rejection of the idea, Cameron said he believed the next step toward resolving the dispute would be to hold talks with veteran mediator Vince Ready.

The teachers’ union has also expressed openness to the idea on Twitter.

Ready is regarded as one of Canada’s top labour troubleshooters, but he said last week the two sides were too far apart for mediation to be effective.

But Cameron says Ready is still monitoring the situation.

The ongoing job action has prompted one school district to entertain its international students because refunds for the annual admission fee will not be given for time lost during the strike.

The Delta School District charges $13,000 for students from around the world to come learn English and attend its classes for a year.

Spokeswoman Deneka Michaud says administrators will take students to see parks, lakes and do Canadian activities for several days this week.

She says the district will monitor the strike situation and make plans on how it will handle the international students if job action keeps going.

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B.C. teachers strike enters second school week

  1. The BC government should impose a contract, the continuation of the previous, and any teacher who does not report for work should be fired immediately and replaced with a younger, more pragmatic teachers certificate holder who wants to work.

    Taxpayers are fed up with the public employees demands from all levels of government.

    • Don’t worry, Boob.
      Christy hates teachers just as much as you and will make sure that their earnings continue to erode and they remain the poorest teachers in the country.
      It’s the implementation of the right-wingers favoured “performance-based pay”.
      They’re being rewarded for producing the best students in the country!

  2. The teaching profession needs a reality pill. For one thing, there’s no reason to be paying teachers more than 60-70K per year. Even though some accountants and engineers with similar educational backgrounds make more money, they by and large work in for-profit enterprises. The bottom line is that the average school teacher in Canada makes as much as the average accountant or lawyer, with none of the fiscal performance requirements, and considerably less hours of actual work. Think about it. Why should people working for not-for-profit enterprises even expect to earn what their counterparts make in the profit-driven sector?
    There is another factor to consider. Virtually all across the private sector, there is an income line that you simply don’t cross without adding value to your employment. Private sector workers don’t simply get raises just because they’ve put in 10 or 15 or 20 years. Once a private sector individual hits the 55-65K/yr mark, it is highly unlikely that he or she will see any increases in income without improving their economic output or taking on greater levels of responsibility that lead to greater economic output. If teachers feel that they have ambitions beyond that level of compensation, they need to seek employment in the private sector.
    More than anything, teachers (and all government employees, for that matter) must grasp the simple fact that they ARE the government. The provincial education system is an arm of the provincial government. Therefore a teacher’s strike is simply an arm of the government choosing to withhold services in order to wrest a greater level of confiscation of private wealth from the citizenry. This is wrong on two counts.
    Firstly, the role of the legislature is to serve the citizenry and protect the citizenry from excess governmental authority. A public sector strike is a usurpation of the authority of the legislature. It is quite literally an assault on the centuries old idea that those who govern (i.e. teachers) do so with the consent of the governed.
    Secondly, withholding services for which confiscation of funds has already occurred, in order to secure even greater funding is fundamentally and diametrically opposite the normal way in which taxation levels are arrived at. If greater spending and taxation is proposed, it is the right of the citizenry to oppose and vote down (or approve) such measures if they see fit, even if that means a reduction in the level of service. There is simply no right in existence (in our system) that allows an arm of the legislature the privilege of withholding services solely as a means of achieving that which it wishes to attain.
    A public sector strike is nothing less than an abdication of legislative authority and abandonment of the government’s duties to protect the citizenry. It is the moral and legal duty of the legislature to impose a settlement.

    • Wow.
      I have to concede that Bill provides an irrefutable example of the failure of the education system to teach basic civics.

      • Please elucidate. Show us where the Constitution or 1000 years of British legal history expresses that legislative bodies have the right to withhold services that have already been paid for via the confiscation of funds, in order to extract a greater level of fiscal sacrifice from the citizens and almost solely for the personal enrichment of the governors.
        Teachers do not work FOR the government. They work WITHIN government. They ARE the government.
        If those who have chosen the role of actually implementing legislation, which is essentially what a public school teacher does, are to be granted the right of job action in order to achieve greater levels of compensation, then shouldn’t the citizens have a commensurate right to withhold, restrict, or negotiate the level at which they are taxed?
        What reason is there for the legislature to exist, for that matter, if the employees of the legislature can simply extort the citizenry at will with no recourse of the citizenry? Does the legislature answer to it’s employees or to the taxpayers? That is the question.

        • Yes, Bill. We’re governed by teachers.
          B.C. is a profocracy.

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