OUR VIEW: Compromising takes two sides

Both the B.C. government and the BCTF need to be flexible in their contract demands

On Monday, March 19, students on the Saanich Peninsula begin their March break. Students get a repose from their classes to enjoy a little bit of spring before hitting the books again starting March 26.

They did, however, get a little March break last week, too, when teachers walked off the job in the district Tuesday and Wednesday, March 6 and 7.

Although bargaining has dragged on, then stalled, for nearly a year now, it has heated up recently with the strike.

Last week, the government budged a little on its demands for the teachers’ new contract, offering to give individual educators a little more pay if they’re faced with bigger or more complicated classrooms. It’s nice to see movement, but as B.C. Teachers’ Federation president Susan Lambert said, throwing money at teachers for bigger class sizes doesn’t help the students at all.

It’s ironic Lambert uses that rhetoric, though, while also demanding a 16 per cent wage increase for teachers, over three years.

And while the BCTF has complained that the government refuses to let go of its net-zero mandate in contract negotiations, it hasn’t made much movement either.

By the time our kids are back from their week out of the classroom, hopefully the two sides will have done enough negotiating – and offered enough compromises on both sides – that we can get on with the remainder of the school year without the threat of having classroom doors shut on our students again.

Regardless, the province had hoped to see Bill 22 passed by Thursday (at News Review deadline), which would nix any possibility of striking until late August.

We could all use a break from the teachers vs. government issue.

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