UPDATED: Mediator Ready walks out on talks; sides are too far apart
There will be no deal in the teachers’ strike coming soon as veteran mediator Vince Ready walked out on talks between the B.C. teachers’ union and the provincial government Saturday evening in Richmond, B.C..
Ready left negotiations saying the sides are too far apart to come to a resolution anytime soon.
“I don’t see a resolution here before the start of school given the positions of the parties. They are a long, long ways apart,” the veteran mediator said.
Ready has been with the two sides since Thursday.
Stumbling blocks continue to be a wide gap in wages, benefits and class composition Ready said Saturday just after 5:30 p.m. PT.
Ready said it is now up to the two sides to work to find an agreement.
Schools were scheduled to open across the province Tuesday (September 2).
Mediator Ready ‘parties are still a long ways apart’; school will not open in Kootenay Lake Tuesday
Veteran mediator Vince Ready is trying but having no luck bringing the two sides in the long-running teacher’s strike together.
“I’ve been discussing whether we can get a framework so we can get this dispute resolved, and so far we haven’t done that,” Ready told CBC News.
“The parties are still a long ways apart.”
The two sides involved in the dispute — B.C Teachers’ Federation and B.C. Public School Employers’ Association, the bargaining agent for the government — have been meeting at a Richmond hotel since Friday.
Meanwhile, Kootenay Lake Superintendent Jeff Jones remain “hopeful” that an agreement will soon be reached in the dispute between the BCTF and the Ministry but said school in the district will not open Tuesday.
“Even if an agreement is reached over the weekend, we will not be able to open our schools for instruction on Tuesday in order to allow time for necessary organization and preparation,” Jones said in a letter released to the media and parents.
“Therefore, our 2014-2015 school year opening will be delayed.”
Jones asks parents, teachers and students to watch the news, and monitor our website for updates regarding a revised schedule for the opening of the 2014-2015 year.
B.C.’s 40,000 public school teachers went on strike two weeks before the end of the previous school year, leaving half a million students locked out of classrooms before summer vacation.
UPDATED: No deal in teachers’ dispute after meeting of major players
Despite a meeting that involved three of the major players in the BC Teachers’ dispute — B.C. Education Minister Peter Fassbender, government lead negotiator Peter Cameron and and teachers’ union president Jim Iker — there is still no deal to end the long-running contract dispute.
“I invited the lead negotiators, Mr. Iker and Mr. Cameron, to meet with me today because we all want to resolve this strike. We want to see students in school next Tuesday,” Fassbender said in a media release Wednesday.
“To make that happen, both sides need to focus on the issues that can be mediated and settled immediately and set aside some matters that will be dealt with by the courts.”
The provincial government has appealed a recent B.C. Supreme Court ruling that it violated teachers’ rights when it stripped them of specific bargaining provisions in 2002.
BCTF president Iker said there were no real new ideas offered in the meeting but wants mediation to begin to give professional mediator Vince Ready a chance to bring the parties together.
Ready has said he can’t begin mediation until the teachers and government move closer to agreeing to terms.
The new school term is suppose to begin Tuesday (September 2).
Major players in teachers dispute to meet Wednesday; NDTA president said members want to be back on the job in September
Nelson and District Teachers Association president Paul Boscariol told The Nelson Daily the B.C Teachers’ Federation executive would be meeting Tuesday to review how best to proceed in the labour dispute with the BC Government.
Boscariol probably didn’t think the major players in the dispute — Education Minister Peter Fassbender and chief government negotiator Peter Cameron and BCTF president Jim Iker — would hold a face-to-face meeting Wednesday.
“Our executive will be meeting (Tuesday) to review some options and how to best make our voices heard,” Boscariol told The Nelson Daily Tuesday.
“It may likely include picketing of work sites in the district.”
Of course all bets are now off that the Fassbender, Cameron and Iker are meeting in Victoria.
The meeting comes after a summer of posturing between the BCTF and B.C. Public School Employers’ Association, the bargaining agent for the government.
More than 40,000 public school teachers began labour action two weeks before the end of the school year, calling for higher wages and more control over class sizes and composition.
Boscariol said local teachers would like nothing better than to begin the school year on schedule.
However, teachers refuse to surrender the keys to public education to the Liberal government.
“Absolutely, teachers would much rather be returning to school on September 2 than having to be picketing,” said Boscariol, who joined a handful of fellow teachers from the NDTA at the annual summer leadership conference this past weekend in Kamloops.
“However, teachers are prepared to take a necessary stand for public education and a fairly bargained collective agreement.”