Vancouver School Board calling for outside intervention to end teachers’ strike

Global Okanagan

The Vancouver School Board is calling for outside intervention in the dispute between the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the provincial government.

It believes an industrial inquiry commissioner, who could issue a public report on necessary solutions, should be brought in.

A second mediator has already turned down the job to help the two sides find a solution, saying they are just too far apart.

When it comes to the discussions, the two sides are close on solving the wage issue, but the biggest gap comes from funding for the classroom, which affects class size and composition.

“We are well within 1 per cent on salary — well within the range that should make mediation viable,” said BCTF President Jim Iker on Wednesday.

He says teachers are “willing to compromise,” but the government has not offered any more money for improvements to class size and composition.

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Education Minister Peter Fassbender issued a statement Wednesday afternoon, saying there’s “no process and no mediator that can bridge this gap at this time.”

Meanwhile, numerous school districts have decided to cancel summer school this year.

Classes will go ahead in Surrey, but only for 47 students who meet the requirements set out by a Labour Relations Board ruling.