The BC Public School Employers Association is confirming to the teacher’s union its members are not locked out and have not been locked out for a while.
At the end of August after a meeting between the education minister, BC Government lead negotiator Peter Cameron, and BCTF president Jim Iker, Peter Fassbender announced the lock out would be lifted and then urged the union to end its strike action.
However yesterday Jim Iker told reporters his members were still locked out.
In a letter to Iker dated September 4th, BCPSEA’s Public Administrator Michael Marchbank said the statement yesterday was “not accurate.”
Marchbank tells the BCTF there is no lock out currently in place.
There have been some rumours that behind the scenes within the BCTF, there have been some talk of returning to the classroom while maintaining a reduced level of job action.
However the last line in the BCPSEA letter seems to draw a line in the sand on any return by teachers maintaining job action, saying it reserves the right to reinstate the lock out in the event any BCTF members return to work, but do not perform all scheduled duties.
Despite the employer saying the lifting of the lock out is old news today, Education Minister Peter Fassbender, in a statement, says he has ordered the employer to unilaterally lift the lock out while again urging the union to end its strike action and return to work.
The BCTF says this is all a public relations stunt and its strike action will only end when a deal is done.
The BCPSEA letter in full is below.
September 4, 2014
Jim Iker, President
BC Teachers’ Federation
Dear Mr. Iker:
I am writing in response to your public statements yesterday, in which you stated that
BCPSEA’s lockout of BCTF members remains in effect. This statement is not accurate. In order
to eliminate any confusion on this issue, please accept this letter as formal confirmation on
behalf of BCPSEA that there is no lockout currently in place affecting any BCTF members.
There is nothing preventing BC teachers from returning to work and resuming their full duties,
and receiving their normal pay if the BCTF directs its members to do so. BCPSEA reserves the
right to implement future lockouts in accordance with the Labour Relations Code, and in
particular reserves the right to lockout in the event BCTF members return to work, but do not
agree to fully perform all of their scheduled duties in the normal manner.
BCPSEA Public Administrator
c. Mike Roberts, Interim CEO, BCPSEA
Peter Cameron, Chief Negotiator, BCPSEA