Teacher Jen Wintjes on horseback leads a noon-hour Walk-a-block for Education rally in Williams Lake Friday

Teacher Jen Wintjes on horseback leads a noon-hour Walk-a-block for Education rally in Williams Lake Friday

Teachers and supporters rally in Williams Lake

Teachers and supporters, some from other unions, attended a two-hour rally in Williams Lake Friday.

On their fourth day of full-strike action teachers in Williams Lake and many supporters participated in a rally held outside of Marie Sharpe Elementary School.

Titled Walk-a-Block for Education, the event also attracted members from other unions.

British Columbia Teachers’ Federation executive member at large, Teresa Grandinetti, came from Coquitlam to offer words of solidarity.

“We could have a deal by Monday if the government was willing to negotiate,” she said.

Cariboo-Chilcotin Teachers’ Association president Murray Helmer said it’s bigger than a salary issue for the teachers.

“We have a good public education system in B.C. because of strong contracts that have preserved things like staffing levels. It didn’t just happen.”

Both Grandinetti and Helmer said the main focus now is to get Vince Ready in to mediate the dispute.

However, on Friday afternoon the BC Public Schools Employer’s Association issued a statement to media saying it supports getting a mediator involved in the dispute, and the “sooner the better,” but that Vince Ready isn’t available until next week because he is out of the province.

“BCPSEA is concerned that the BCTF’s demand is motivated by public relations rather than a genuine desire for successful mediation,” the statement said.

“Mr. Iker has contacted the Minister’s office this morning, and the Minister asked Mr. Iker to call Peter Cameron, BCPSEA chief negotiator. Mr. Cameron has also emailed Mr. Iker asking Mr. Iker to contact him. This has not happened as of the time of this statement.”

Videos of Grandinetti and Helmer speaking at the rally are on the Tribune’s Facebook Page.



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