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Arbitration ‘the most fair option’

NEWS/  SCHOOLS — Will he, or won’t he?

The B.C. Teachers Federation called for binding arbitration today (Friday) to settle their dispute with the government over a new contract, and now it’s up to Education Minister Peter Fassbender to say yes or no.

BCTF pres. Jim Iker.

BCTF pres. Jim Iker.

Fassbender hasn’t been favourable to arbitration in the past and some media reports are saying he doesn’t sound agreeable to it now although he hasn’t immediately ruled it out.

Iker said in a televised speech Friday teachers have led the way in efforts to end the dispute while the government has put up road blocks. If the government agrees to binding arbitration, he said, the BCTF will put the question to its members and, if it succeeds, the strike would end.

“It is the fastest and most fair option that will see schools open and kids back in classrooms,” said Iker.

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan, in Kamloops for party caucus meetings, immediately supported the BCTF’s proposal. He told the Armchair Mayor News he wouldn’t necessarily have supported it a couple of months ago but it’s a way to get kids back to school.

“It’s a risk for taxpayers and a risk for the union but it’s an opportunity to resolve this quickly,” he said.

“It’s a positive step that the premier should seize upon. She claims she wants to get kids back in the classroom so I hope she’ll do that.”

Do you think the teachers’ dispute should go to binding arbitration? Vote in the Armchair Mayor’s poll on the righthand side of this page.

Horgan wrote an open letter to Premier Christy Clark earlier this week asking her to step in and become involved in trying to end the stalemate, but he said Friday she did nothing to help. “I assumed she’d come informed and make an effort to calm the waters rather than stir the pot.”

He said the premier didn’t respond to his letter.

The BCTF says it’s willing to put compensation, benefits and prep time to arbitration, but not class size and composition or the controversial E80 clause. The E80 clause is a proposal by the B.C. Public School Employers Association on class size and composition, and specialist teachers that would supersede previous provisions.

About Mel Rothenburger (9367 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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