Solution easy: drop class size, composition

Much has been written and said vis a vis this dispute. “It’s all about the kids” rhetoric by the BCTF and its correspondents as well as carefully crafted “almost good enough” offers by the government and, naturally enough, impassioned statements by teachers and parents.

Vince was hailed as the saviour but no one can mediate this dispute.

It is a classic case of labour relations negotiations: warfare. Not virtual warfare where the parties flex their muscles to their greatest possible extent [usually for monetary reasons], it is, pure and simply, power vs power. Jack Munro did this in the 80s with Bill Bennett and won by threatening a province-wide strike [in support of which he had mustered a tens-of-thousands-strong parade he threatened to take to Kelowna].

However, the strikers in this dispute are wearing summer clothes and smiling for any available camera: bad strategy.

In this case the government has said “enough is enough” to the BCTF in its desire to run the enterprise without having accountability to the taxpayers. This dispute is not about wages and benefits. BCTF wage and benefits demands mask their true purpose which is control of the education system.

If the BCTF withdrew their class size and composition position and settled down to bargain wages and benefits, Vince would be easily able to bring in a negotiated settlement.

I ask you: if your employees sought to control your business, what would your response be?

My 45 years of labour relations says the government will prevail in this dispute and, with adequate legal support which Eric Harris certainly provides, will likely prevail in the Court of Appeal [yet another example of power exercised]. On this one, I am with the government.

Pat Mulcahy


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