Do they stay do go they go?
As of this writing, that’s probably the biggest question on the minds of parents of school-age children. Will schools re-open on Sept. 2 as scheduled or will the labour dispute between the province and the B.C. Teachers Federation drag on into the early portion of the school year?
And like many questions of its kind, the uncertainty it creates can sometimes paralyze a family. In other cases, parents are simply carrying on as if school will be in session as planned next week — buying supplies and getting their kids geared up for a return to class.
That’s a big risk, considering both sides in the contract dispute (again, as of this writing) remain no closer to a deal. There was talk late Wednesday afternoon about a two-week cooling off period that would see teachers return to class while the parties continue to negotiate.
It’s tough to know just which side would benefit from that idea, pitched by Education Minister Peter Fassbender. Teachers — because they’d be back to work and not facing empty bank accounts. The province — because they’d avoid public rankling over no schools in session or that teachers would be working under their last contract and they’d be saving money. It would also look to many people like the dispute was over — so getting teachers back on picket lines if a deal fell through would be terrible for public relations.
So, is such a truce simply just a trap?
Another question to be answered in this teacher-province labour quagmire.
Had summer not fallen in between periods of labour strife, there would have been a deal in place by now — parents and the public would have demanded it.
While questions remain, and will until there’s a deal, it’s a sure bet that the pressure on both sides will grow to a boiling point as we move further into the school year.