EDITORIAL: Dispute requires third party

When two sides in a labour dispute cannot even agree on when and for how long they met on the weekend, how can anybody expect a resolution to more weighty matters?

That teachers began their full-scale strike was no surprise given the acrimony between the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the provincial government (through the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association).

Not only were words exchanged over when and how long the two sides met on the weekend, the groups still cannot agree on what each others’ proposal will cost.

When a 7.5 per cent pay hike may actually be a seven per cent increase and when a 9.25 per cent lift might really be 14.5 per cent, it is time to call timeout.

As one wag put it — the union and government are either inhabited by liars or by people with extremely poor math skills.

It has become past ridiculous.

By the time the lockout and strike arrived, the school year was all but over. What happens next depends on the resolve of teachers.

As was found out when visiting picket lines, the reduced pay is affecting some teachers. But, as many said, they feel what they are doing is worth it.

Government has the hammer in this dispute. At any moment, the B.C. Liberals can simply legislate a contract.

But, wielding the power does not necessarily come with a white hat.

It is past time this dispute was sent to binding arbitration.

If the union believes in its fight; if the Christy Clark administration believes likewise, both sides need to be confident enough to have a third party lend credence to their argument.

— Kamloops This Week


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