Fassbender outlined steps that he believes would get the ball rolling towards a new agreement.
“First, I asked the parties to set aside the matter of potential grievances stemming from Justice Griffin’s decision,” he said. “The demand on potential grievances is nearly a quarter of a billion dollars a year. This matter is before the courts and will be addressed through the appeals process. I’m not asking the BCTF to do anything prejudicial to their court case, but setting this issue aside as the appeals process takes place gives mediation a chance to succeed”
He noted that setting aside any grievances would be helpful as it pertained to getting mediation underway involving Vince Ready. However Fassbender recognized that the decision to begin mediation lies squarely with Ready himself.
“I made it clear that setting aside the grievances is not a precondition for mediation but I stated my belief that doing so would allow negotiations to focus squarely on the key issues at hand: teachers’ wages and class size and composition,” he stated. “My hope is that it would move the parties into a zone where mediator Vince Ready sees an opportunity to start productive mediation.”
When mediation begins Fassbender has requested that that the BCTF and the BCPSEA suspend all strike and lockout action for two weeks. The government has no intention of stepping in to enforce that this happens but hopes the groups would consider the move to allow classes to start on time.
“I asked the BCTF and BCPSEA to suspend all strike or lockout activities for two weeks when Mr. Ready starts mediation,” he said. “Government has no plan to legislate an end to this dispute and we are not asking either the BCTF or BCPSEA to give up their right to strike or lockout. We are just asking them to voluntarily stand down and let classes start while the parties are in mediation.”
As of yet the BCTF and the BCPSEA have not issued comments responding to Fassbender’s statement