Time for a resolution

It would certainly seem the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and B.C. Public School Employers’ Association are headed for a train wreck.

It would certainly seem the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and B.C. Public School Employers’ Association are headed for a train wreck –– and kids and parents are stuck square in the middle of it all.

The latest move in the dispute has school districts formalizing their plan to cut teacher pay for strike action with a stop-work order that takes effect 45 minutes before and after school hours and during lunch and recess breaks.

The partial lockout, effective this coming Monday, mirrors the B.C. Teachers’ Federation’s first stage of strike action, refusing student supervision outside classroom hours and communication with management.

Rotating strikes begin next week, and the lockout is an attempt to bolster the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association case for cutting salaries by 10 per cent in response to the strike action.

BCTF president Jim Iker said Thursday the stop-work order will disrupt after-hours activities, including graduation ceremonies.

BCPSEA chief negotiator Peter Cameron said the lockout terms match existing union work hour restrictions and do not interfere with voluntary activity.

Teachers can choose not to contact parents or take part in graduation, but the lockout doesn’t prevent that and there is no pay to cut for such volunteer activities, Cameron said.

The tit for tat has escalated this week for sure, but it has been brewing since teachers were legislated back to work, and then agreed to disagree with a one-year contract in recent years.

Clearly nothing has changed since then. We merely put off the inevitable.

In the Cariboo Chilcotin the dispute has translated into no school for students Tuesday, but the way things are going we should brace for more troubled times ahead, such as cancelled field trips and the like.

At the heart of the dispute is money, but also class configuration and size (which again means money). While we appreciate the government’s need to save money, why does it have to come at the expense of our children?

It is safe to say the dispute between the teachers and the government is getting old.

It’s time for a resolution.

Enough is enough.

– Williams Lake Tribune/Advisor with files from Tom Fletcher

 

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