BCTF President Jim Iker slams Liberal government for putting politics ahead of public education system

B.C. Teachers’ Federation President Jim Iker on Saturday slammed the Liberal government for putting their political objectives ahead of the public education system by rejecting the teachers’ call for binding arbitration.

Iker added: “Over the last two days, I met with respected mediator Vince Ready and BCPSEA’s lead negotiator, Peter Cameron, to outline the BCTF’s proposal on binding arbitration. It is a fair, workable, and pragmatic plan to end the strike, open schools, and get children back into classrooms.

“Binding arbitration allows both parties to present their proposals and empower an independent third party to evaluate them to resolve the dispute. Unfortunately, the government continues to put its own interests ahead of all others. BC teachers are willing to put our proposals to an independent third party for evaluation, but the government remains too entrenched to even consider this fair process.

“Our proposal is a straightforward and practical solution that will get both parties past the biggest hurdles and get kids back to school. It would have seen the most contentious issue, the government’s attempt to nullify their BC Supreme Court losses, removed from the bargaining process. All other matters, including compensation, could have gone to binding arbitration. BC teachers’ only precondition was that the government’s attempt to undo their court losses, proposal E80, be dropped.

“BC teachers will continue to keep the option for arbitration open as it remains the fastest and most fair way to resolve the dispute and end the strike. Government should give up its ideological opposition and listen to the growing calls from parents and other concerned citizens to resolve this dispute fairly. Despite the government’s knee-jerk rejection, teachers will leave all options, including mediation and arbitration open.

“Teachers will continue to stand strong for a fair deal and the improved learning conditions our students need.”