Over the last two weeks I have received many hundreds of emails from the constituents of Oak Bay Gordon Head as well as from ridings across British Columbia. The message is abundantly clear, British Columbians want the government to end the teachers’ labour dispute and get children back in the classroom.
The BCTF opened the door to finding a deal. They agreed to seek binding arbitration, a position I advocated for at the end of August, and one they have never agreed to before. Binding arbitration is a time-tested means of ending labour disputes once face-to-face meetings and mediation have failed. This is clearly the case in the present dispute.
Saturday’s announcement by Minister of Education Peter Fassbender rejecting BCTF’s proposal to seek binding arbitration demonstrates a clear lack of leadership, an inability to compromise and a fundamental lack of support for public education.
But it’s not too late for the government to change their mind. That is why today, in response to your comments and concerns, I put together a petition that I hope you will consider signing.
The petition states:
Whereas a stable and robust public education system is essential for the social, economic and environmental future of the province;
and Whereas there is much to be proud of in our public schools including well-educated, hard-working teachers; parents who advocate passionately for their children; and students who consistently perform strongly in the Programme for International Student Assessment;
and Whereas the education and livelihood of BC children, their parents, their teachers and school support staff and many others throughout BC are being adversely affected by the ongoing labour dispute;
and Whereas the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation has agreed to seek binding arbitration to settle their labour dispute;
and Whereas face to face negotiations and mediation have broken down;
Therefore, be it resolved that the BC government reverse its decision and agree to binding arbitration in order to settle the labour dispute with BC teachers.