No end in sight to teachers strike

With teachers scheduled to report for duty in less than a month, KCTU says plans for starting school are still up in the air.

With the summer already half over and back-to-school sales starting, teachers and students don’t know when they are heading back to the classroom.

Teachers are scheduled to report for duty in less than a month, and Kootenay-Columbia Teachers’ Union President, Andy Davidoff, says plans for starting school are still up in the air.

“Nobody knows,” he said about a start date for the 2014-2015 school year.

Davidoff says there is no meeting in sight for the government and the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) to sit down and negotiate.

“We are talking about talking,” he said, adding that a mediator was appointed, but there was nothing to mediate. “Supreme Court Justice Stephen Kelleher has been made available to mediate the dispute, but the problem is that the government has said there is nothing to take to mediation because we are too far apart.”

In a mid-July press release, the blame game continued with Education Minister Peter Fassbender saying it was the B.C. Teachers Federation that wasn’t willing to look at a deal.

“(The BC Public School Employers’ Association) stands ready to negotiate any time, with or without a mediator,” he said. “Whenever the BCTF is ready to commit to a fair and affordable settle that is in line with the other public sector agreements to date.”

Teachers begin job action in May and it escalated to a full-scale walkout in mid-June.