As this latest dispute between B.C.’s teachers and the province rages on, we can’t help but feel there are some lessons that just aren’t being learned.
If the teachers think rotating strikes are going to suddenly make the Liberals bend and hand them the contract that would make other public sector unions green with envy, they need to study their history.
Our governing MLAs have made it clear their priority is boasting about low taxes and business-friendly policies, not how much support teachers have in the classroom or boosting public-sector paycheques.
That said, the Liberals’ unnecessary escalation of the dispute by announcing they will cut teachers’ pay by 10 per cent and lock them out of the workplace before and after school seems like deliberate and mean-spirited provocation.
It escalates the effects of the dispute already being felt by students and their parents. It appears designed to push teachers into ramping up their action.
The path to a potentially legislated settlement has been trampled down before by both sides. The last time this happened, the resulting stop-gap contract guaranteed we’d be back in this position barely a year later.
The antagonistic relationship between the two groups goes back more than a decade and seems destined to be poisoned for another 10 years.
Meanwhile, students who want a memorable graduation ceremony, report cards, or one more chance to compete in athletics are left not knowing what’s going to happen with one month left in the school year.
Both sides in this dispute could use an afternoon in detention.