Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

B.C. Teachers’ Federation president Jim Iker addresses a news conference in Vancouver on Sept. 8, 2014.

Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

British Columbia's teachers' union is forging ahead in its pursuit of binding arbitration to end its ongoing strike, hoping another show of solidarity with a provincewide vote will convince a government that's already firmly rejected the offer to come around.

The B.C. Teachers' Federation is urging members to approve the settlement method in a vote on Wednesday and will promptly move to re-open schools if government agrees to the proposal and will take whatever contract an independent third-party determines is fair.

(Read up on the issues and history of the education labour dispute with our explainer Q&A.)

Story continues below advertisement

"Again, it's us proposing solutions. We think it's the fastest, easiest solution right now," union president Jim Iker told reporters on Monday, as the strike marched into its second week of delaying the school year.

"What we're saying by the vote is we're already going to be saying 'Yes,' if government agrees."

Iker called the government's refusal over the weekend to accept the resolution "a political knee-jerk reaction."

But Iker said the union still has a pre-condition to binding arbitration: scrapping clause E80.

The contentious clause, introduced by government negotiators, deals with bargaining classroom conditions and includes an adjoining stipulation that if either side is unsatisfied with a pending court ruling on the matter, the collective agreement can be terminated.

"It's time for this government to drop the single biggest hurdle," Iker said.

Iker put forward the union's more detailed proposal over nine hours of talks on the weekend with the government's chief negotiator, Peter Cameron, and veteran mediator Vince Ready.

Story continues below advertisement

But Education Minister Peter Fassbender didn't bend.

"After due diligence and further investigation, it became very clear that it was another empty effort to give parents and teachers a false hope that there is a simple way to resolve the dispute," Fassbender said in a statement issued on Saturday.

Fassbender responded on Wednesday by accusing union leadership of creating a ploy to deflect its responsibility for presenting an affordable contract.

Fassbender says he feels like he's in the film Groundhog Day, where the same day repeats over and over, as he told reporters that binding arbitration is not in the cards because he fears it would end up costing taxpayers money.

The minister also rejected the union's demand the employer scrap a clause related to class size and composition, while repeating the government is determined to get a deal at the bargaining table rather than through legislation.

The union's framework for settlement states it will hand over to an arbitrator unresolved items including salary, signing bonus, extended health benefits and dental, teaching-on-call issues, pregnancy leave top-up and preparation time.

Story continues below advertisement

In a new move from last week's proposal, the union said it would put its request for a new fund to hire more specialist teachers to an arbitrator.

The government has never agreed a new fund is required, stating it has already dedicated ongoing funds to deal with classroom size and composition.

On Monday, the Opposition New Democrats called on the Liberal government to accept the union's terms.

Leader John Horgan said the government has money in its budget, or, can raise enough money to sweeten the pot and prompt a deal. He didn't mention raising taxes outright, saying it's the job of government to find ways to solve difficult issues.

"There's enough money for this," said Horgan. "Government's responsibility is to manage the affairs of the public. That's why we're here."

NDP education critic Rob Fleming said the union was offering an acceptable route to ending the impasse.

Story continues below advertisement

"We've got Peter Fassbender out there talking like he's a Scottish trade unionist insisting that bargaining should continue when it's failed," Fleming said. "We need something different."

Finance Minister Mike de Jong said Monday voters re-elected the Liberals on their promise not to increase taxes and suggested that if the government accepted the union's current proposal, it would cost every property owner in B.C. $200 more annually.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies