June 21, 2013 - 10:53 AM
Minister of Education Peter Fassbender has issued the following statement, having just met individually with the BC School Trustees' Association (BCSTA), the BC Teachers' Federation (BCTF) and the BC Public School Employers' Association (BCPSEA):
"Today started with a very productive meeting with the BCSTA, where we discussed the importance of co-governance and maintaining a strong relationship. These were the first of many face-to-face stakeholder meetings I hope to have in the coming weeks. In the meetings we discussed a number of issues. Primary among them was the state of negotiations between the BCPSEA and the BCTF.
"I asked the BCTF and the BCPSEA to conclude negotiations this week and then to work with government and the BCSTA on a new road map forward that respects the roles of all the stakeholders. We need to keep moving and develop this roadmap before bargaining resumes under a new mandate that is consistent with our election commitment.
"Starting last October, we consulted broadly and in January we released our framework for a new way of arriving at labour agreements in K-12 education. It aims to create much-needed stability for students, teachers, parents and communities and includes many ideas that have long been sought by the BCTF, like the full right to strike, improvements to the bargaining process, and allowing the BCTF to negotiate directly with government on provincial matters.
"We made the framework an election commitment and we were given the mandate to pursue a long-term agreement. Shortly after the election, the deputy minister of education wrote to the parties advising them to expect a new bargaining mandate. We are now starting our work with stakeholders on a roadmap to a long-term agreement.
"At every step of the way, we will work with school trustees, teachers, parents and other key stakeholders who care about long-term stability in our schools. We will need their ongoing help to craft solutions.
"When we consulted with stakeholders last fall, many expressed their desire for a more open and transparent bargaining process. There is also a strong public interest in greater transparency.
"Providing this statement is the first step in response to these concerns. I intend to be as open and transparent as possible about the process and details, so all interested parties can share the same understanding as we work to strengthen our world-class education system.
"The old way does not work. It is time for a new path, a new beginning. We urge all education stakeholders to join us in this worthy cause."
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013