With the first day of school set for Wednesday, September 3, the big question on many people’s minds is: Will classes actually begin on that date?
MLA Norm Macdonald., himself a former teacher and principal, is hopeful.
He says the willingness of experienced mediator Vince Ready to take on the prickly task of helping the BF Teachers’ Federation and the BC Public Schools Employers’ Association reach an agreement is a good sign.
Early in the summer the two sides met with Mr. Justice Stephen Kelleher. In a joint statement BCTF President Jim Iker and BCPSEA Chief Negotiator Peter Cameron expressed their appreciation to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of BC for making Justice Kelleher available to assist the parties. They appreciated Justice Kelleher’s willingness to help out, particularly given his demanding schedule.
Over the summer, discussions continued between Iker and Cameron, leading up to last Friday’s face-to-face session of the two bargaining teams. Following that session, Vince Ready indicated his availability in August. Following telephone contact with the two parties, Ready met separately with them on August 13. He agreed to monitor the situation, and to resume exploratory talks or commence full mediation when he believes it will be productive.The BCTF and BCPSEA agreed that they will not engage in public discussion pending further discussions with him.
You can catch Macdonald’s comments on the strike/lockout during this video interview for the In Conversation program to be shown on RCTV later this week: