School District 61 in Greater Victoria has written a letter to the BC Public School Employers Association to ask that a mediator be immediately appointed in contract talks with teachers.
Chair Peg Orcherton says her board is frustrated at a bargaining process that has gone off the rails.
“We want this issue to be dealt with. We have the students in our district in the forefront and we are frustrated by the way negotiations are happening. We believe that the parties need some assistance to enable them to focus on what there common purpose is.”
Orcherton says her board is not alone in wanting a mediator to step in.
“Some boards have said similar things as there is questions as to whether a mediator would be appropriate at this time. Our board took the position that it is. Everybody really wants a negotiated settlement sooner rather than later so that we can have certainty in our pubic education system and allow our students to go forward and achieve there educational opportunities.”
Orcherton says while the board wants a mediator to put in place immediately so far binding arbitration is not on the wish list.
“We are not there yet. We are watching closely what is happening. At this point we haven’t discussed that. We are hopeful that a mediator would be the next step although I understand that Peter Cameron has said that he doesn’t think that, that is likely but we are thinking that it would be a good step to try and bring the parties together.”
Talks will resume on Monday just as teachers launch rotating strikes, and the employer puts those teachers under a partial lock out.