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BCTF, government back at the bargaining table with Vince Ready Friday

Vince Ready.
Vince Ready.

VANCOUVER – Both sides in the current education dispute will be back at the bargaining table on Friday.

BCTF president Jim Iker, the B.C. government’s chief negotiator Peter Cameron and mediator Vince Ready will meet to continue talks at the end of what should have been the second week of the new school year.

They announced late on Thursday that the two sides would be meeting but there is still no word on whether the talks could lead to mediation or negotiations with full bargaining teams.

The two sides have been holding press conferences over the past two weeks but not meeting face to face since the exploratory talks with Ready broke down.

However, on Thursday it appeared that the government is getting more flexible on the contentious E80 clause, which deals with class size and composition.

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“We have said clearly, tell us what the problem with E80 is, and we’ll negotiate that,” said Education Minister Peter Fassbender. “And again, negotiations are about give and take.”

“If there’s a concern about a line in it or some of the language [in E80], that’s what negotiators do at the table. We have said we’re willing to do that and the big issue here, that I think I want every parent, every teacher, every taxpayer in this province to know is that we want to deal with composition in classrooms. We’ve put $375 million for the term of the contract, on the table as part of the negotiations.”