Teachers vote for arbitration

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) voted 99.4 per cent in favour of settling their issues through third-party binding arbitration

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) voted 99.4 per cent in favour of settling their issues through third-party binding arbitration on Tuesday.

The BCTF says that as soon as the government agrees to arbitration, classes can resume, but a statement released by Minister of Education Peter Fassbender after the vote result was released said, “As we have consistently made clear, binding arbitration would lead to unacceptable tax increases in this case.”

And so, at this point, the two sides are still at a stalemate.

Relief is on its way for teachers struggling financially, however.

Recent announcements from the B.C. Federation of Labour (BC Fed), the B.C. Nurses Union (BCNU) and others have been a boost to the coffers of the BCTF hardship fund.

The BC Fed announced Tuesday that its affiliates will contribute $8-million in interest-free loans to the BCTF to add to their hardship fund. President of the BC Fed, Jim Sinclair said the loan is an indication of solidarity with the BCTF from its members.

The money will be earmarked for teachers who are experiencing financial hardship, not distributed as “strike pay,” but it’s a boost to those struggling most.

Sinclair and the BC Fed have also come out in favour of the arbitration proposal, along with 13 other unions representing approximately 350,000 public sector workers.