The BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) has sent an application to the Labour Relations Board to remove Dr. Charles Jago as mediator in the current labour dispute.
Education Minister George Abbott appointed Jago mediator on March 28.
Norm Sabourin, president of the Boundary District Teacher’s Association, stated that the unfortunate problem with this appointment is that Jago has no labour experience.
“He has no Kindergarten to 12 background and is primarily a post-secondary educator,” explained Sabourin.
“He has no mediation experience or background, no legal background or experience in arbitration, limited experience with labour relations and only on the employer side.”
In a press release from the BCTF, it noted, “The BCTF is concerned about a 2006 report on public education in B.C., done by Dr. Jago, on commission to former Premier Gordon Campbell’s Progress Board.”
The release stated the report foreshadowed the possible outcome on the bargaining table.
“I can speak on behalf of my members and say we’re not very happy,” said Sabourin.
A Ministry of Education press release stated, “As mediator, Jago will be guided by the best interests of students and the pursuit of high-quality learning as he assists the parties in negotiations . . . Jago will have the resources he needs to fulfil his mandate, including the ability to engage support staff and independent advisors.”
The mediation period will run until the end of June. At that time, if there is still no agreement on both sides, Jago has the ability to report with non-binding recommendations.
Teachers are currently contemplating a province-wide walkout, which would violate Bill 22.
The BCTF is seeking support from its members for a possible strike during a vote on April 17 and 18.
“I’m not saying we should go after them with pitchforks, but we have to do something,” stated Sabourin.