Job action may heat up as report finds it unlikely teachers and employers to come to voluntarily negotiated agreement

Job action may heat up as report finds it unlikely teachers and employers to come to voluntarily negotiated agreement

A report finds it unlikely the B.C. Teachers' Federation (BCTF) and the B.C. Public School Employers' Association (BCPSEA) will come to a voluntarily negotiated agreement to end the on-going labour dispute.

The assistant deputy minister of industrial relations issued the report to Labour Minister Margaret MacDiarmid.

In his report, Trevor Hughes found it very unlikely that BCTF and BCPSEA will be able to reach a voluntary settlement of their collective bargaining dispute.

Despite almost one year of negotiations and more than 75 face-to-face sessions, the parties have not been able to narrow the outstanding issues.

It was obvious the BCTF would not be pleased with the report and is threatening a full-scale walkout should the provincial government leave the bargaining table and legislate an end to an apparently deadlocked labour dispute.

The BCTF plans to head to the Labour Relations Board Monday to determine legal next steps to escalate its teach-only job action.

A province-wide day of action will be held the same day with scheduled lunch-hour union meetings and community rallies after school.

Teachers will vote on whether to support a walkout on Tuesday and Wednesday with results released Thursday.

In his report Hughes makes observations about process and substance issues on which the parties are apart, including the government's "net zero" mandate and the BCTF's demand for a 15 per cent wage increase over three years.

The report was delivered to MacDiarmid Thursday, who reviewed it before providing it to Education Minister George Abbott and the parties. Based on the contents of the report, Abbott will determine next steps government may take in the dispute.

The report can be read at: http://www.gov.bc.ca/citz/reports_publications.html