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Wednesday, November 14, 2018
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Rejecting arbitration, appealing to the court, and student protests: Teachers’ strike enters another week

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Talks between teachers and government crumbled yet again after the province rejected a proposal that would have tried to stop the job action.

Education Minister, Peter Fassbender says he rejected binding arbitration over the weekend, calling it “false hope.”

But President of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, Jim Iker says if government agreed, the union would have asked its members to vote on ending the strike.

Meanwhile, there is some insight into what government will be arguing in its October appeal of the teachers ruling handed down by the B.C. Supreme Court earlier this year.

The province’s written argument says the court ruling should be dismissed because it robs government of its ability to determine public matters like education policy.

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The appeal is directed at a ruling that found the province violated teachers’ rights by stripping them of their ability to bargain for class size and support staff levels in 2002.

Teachers also filed a written argument, agreeing with the findings of the court.

Some students say they’re fed up waiting for school to start

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As teachers and government negotiators sit on their hands and wait to get back to the bargaining table, students across the province aren’t sitting idly by.

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Caitie Shaw, 16, from the Okanagan is one of several student organizers in B.C. putting together an effort for students to hold a province-wide sit-in and protest at MLA offices on Wednesday.

“I feel like I’m suppose to choose a side but really I just want to go back to school, and I don’t care so much about the politics,” Shaw said. “…The main thing that I’m concerned about is getting back to school.”

Shaw created a Facebook page for B.C. students and others from around the province pitched the idea to her.

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“I thought well why don’t we just connect all of these and just start with everyone going to their MLA’s office and sitting-in there; and than seeing if that really doesn’t do anything, maybe going a bit bigger, like Victoria and those kinds of places,” Shaw explained.

You can find more information on the sit-in by visiting the Facebook page “BC Students Supporting Our Right to Public Education.”

With files from the Canadian Press and CKNW

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