Labour dispute between teachers and B.C. government keeps public schools closed

By on September 3, 2014

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VANCOUVER — Public schools in British Columbia remain closed following a breakdown in talks that dashed any hopes parents and students had of classes starting as scheduled.

The teachers’ union and government bargaining teams barely spoke to each other all summer, and despite a flurry of action over the weekend, negotiations fell apart.

Mediator Vince Ready says the two sides are too far apart, and the BC Teachers’ Federation and the government have accused each other of refusing to budge on contract demands.

Wages and teaching conditions such as class size and composition have been at the heart of the labour dispute that began in June, when teachers walked off the job in a rotating and then full-scale strike two weeks before summer vacation.

Both sides in the dispute say they are willing to speak again, but no meetings have been scheduled.

Union leader Jim Iker is expected to speak outside a Vancouver school on Tuesday morning, while rallies are scheduled to take place outside the B.C. legislature and Education Minister Peter Fassbender’s constituency office.