June 25, 2014 - 2:25 PM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - The teacher collective agreement will be discussed by both sides at a meeting today but the union president says teachers have agreed to strike through the summer if needed.
“Mediation is the only way to bridge the gap between the two sides,” Jim Iker says. “(If no agreement is made) teachers will extend their strike to summer and will picket out summer school.”
Iker says the government needs to have an open mind, be flexible and show a willingness to compromise and he hopes the meeting today will help the two groups move forward. He says discussions this afternoon will include the names of possible new mediators. Veteran mediator Vince Ready recently declined stepping into the current disagreement.
“Our goal, our priority is to get the deal done by June 30, so the whole issue of summer school would not be an issue,” he says. “But if no deal is made teachers will picket… it will be up to each school district whether they hold summer school or not.”
Iker says summer school is part of the collective agreement and online remediation is available for students who failed, if summer school is not an option.
All staff are expected to picket outside of schools hosting summer school programs if an agreement is not reached, but each individual local will decide on vacation time and whether teachers who have already booked vacations will still be expected to picket.
Teachers began job action in April with reduced administrative and supervisory duties and rotating strikes began in May. In June full strike action began, effectively ending the school year nearly two weeks earlier than planned for thousands of students across the province.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014