The Education Minister’s response to the latest move by the union is to deny his government is again trying to provoke strike action.
“It’s not a threat. The reality is if you withdraw services, there is commensurate loss of salary.”
Peter Fassbender says he still hopes a settlement can be negotiated before Monday, but the decision to dock wages up to 10% if picket lines go up still stands.
“If they’ve reduced the amount of work they’re doing, we will reduce your salary accordingly and we think it is a measured and a reasonable response.”
Under questioning from reporters Fassbender insisted employees who choose to walk off the job should expect to have their salaries docked accordingly.
“There was no threats here. The reality is, in bargaining, there are commensurate pressures that either party puts on in order to try and move towards a negotiated settlement. That’s nothing new. There was no threats to teachers from the province of British Columbia exactly the opposite.”
However Fassbender explains the same rule won’t apply to principals and vice-principals.
“Well, you need to remember that even under the limited action, all of the administrators, right up to district staff have been doing supervision and all of those things, so they have taken on the extra load that a situation like this creates.”
Fassbender says last week’s move to back away from a push for a ten year contract is proof government negotiators are acting in good faith, but union wage demands are still, in his words, way out of line.
The two sides will resume bargaining this Thursday.