Thousands crammed into the plaza in front of Canada Place in Vancouver this evening to rally in support of BC public school teachers.
They heard from the heads of groups including the BCTF, the BC NDP, the Federation of Labour and the Canadian Labour Congress.
With no sign of a deal on the horizon, BC teachers are calling for mediation in hopes an independent party could turn the key in deadlocked negotiations.
“We’re hopeful that this is the next step to get where everybody says they want to be.”
“Its absolutely the time, we need a deal, we are so desperate to be back with our students.”
“I have a lot of respect for Vince Ready, I think he would come to a fair settlement.”
“It’s time to bring somebody else in to bring some sanity to the process.”
Union President Jim Iker says veteran mediator Vince Ready should be step in to help broker a deal by the end of June.
Teachers claim the two sides are not too far apart.
“We are within one percent on wages, so wages I think is a side issue that we can agree on fairly easily, with class size and composition I think that there is a way forward.”
“Where they say they are millions of dollars apart is on class size and composition, which this same government stripped out of our collective agreement.”
“The government has saved over three billion dollars, and the courts told them they had to restore our contract.”
Education Minister Peter Fassbender says the government has addressed the issue of class size and composition with a 75-million-dollar-a-year fund, but the union says that’s not enough.
Teachers are heading into a fourth day of a full-scale walkout by more than 40,000 teachers across the province.