EDITORIAL: Sides need to get deal done

Teachers are threatening job action when classes resume on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Teachers are threatening job action when classes resume on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Members of the B.C. Teachers Federation want a new contract with public school employers to include a number of changes in working conditions, and a substantial wage increase. They have an added weapon in their bargaining arsenal — a recent ruling from the B.C. Supreme Court stated that the provincial government legislation which took away the right of teachers to bargain on class size and composition is unconstitutional, and that teachers do have the rights to do such bargaining.

Unfortunately, the real bargaining is starting far too late in the summer to have any meaningful chance of being wrapped up by Sept. 6. That means that students will be affected by the teachers’ job action, which thus far does not include a strike, but does involve a refusal to perform non-essential services.

The way the union is fighting over every single detail on what constitutes “non-essential services” demonstrates that the two sides are miles apart. Meanwhile neither side has sat down and actually got down to bargaining.

The BCTF is now engaging in a campaign to try and convince the public that teachers deserve a bigger piece of the pie. This pie, of course, is funded by taxpayers, most of who are tapped out by constant demands for additional funds by all levels of government.

Teachers, school employers and the provincial government need to start dealing with the nitty gritty issues, which all revolve around the right of students to get a good education. Meaningful dialogue needs to begin immediately.

– The Langley Times