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Langley school trustees pen letter, calling both sides tactics harmful

Teachers on the picket line at Langley Secondary where the strike has caused last minute changes to students doing their provincial exams this week. - Dan Ferguson
Teachers on the picket line at Langley Secondary where the strike has caused last minute changes to students doing their provincial exams this week.
— image credit: Dan Ferguson

The Langley Board of Education has sent a letter to both the government and the B.C. Teachers Federation, urging them to reach a collective agreement now.

Dated June 16, the letter was posted on the district's Facebook page on June 25. In it, the board said the tactics used by both sides have "not only failed, but have now reached a point where the well-being of the students of British Columbia and the success of our education system are both being adversely affected."

The board also said the current actions are not only ineffective but harmful to "those who are not a party to the dispute."

The board, like the B.C. Parent Advisory Council, is calling on both sides to come up with a better format for bargaining.

The letter comes at a time in the strike when the two parties couldn't be further apart. The government is wanting teachers to return to teach summer school and are seeking an injunction to rule it an essential service.

Meanwhile, BCTF president Jim Iker said teachers will picket summer school.

Summer sessions are very popular in Langley, with around 3,000 children expected to take part. Among them are international students, who pay hefty fees to attend school in Langley. Some are unable to return home for the summer, as they have purchased plane tickets to be used when summer school was supposed to end.

This is the complete text of the Langley Board of Education letter:

Dear Sirs,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Langley Board of Education to express the board’s concern in relation to the current state of contract negotiations between the BC Teachers’ Federation and the BC Public School Employers’ Association.

It appears clear to the board that the actions each of your organizations have taken to pressure the other to assume a more moderate bargaining position have not only failed, but have now reached a point where the well-being of the students of British Columbia and the success of our education system are both being adversely affected. The board urges both the BCTF and BCPSEA to return to previous commitments to the well-being of students and to a successful education system in our province.

The board also urges all concerned to recognize the ineffectiveness of current actions as well as the harm being done to those who are not a party to the dispute. The Board is of the view that both the BCTF and BCPSEA should endeavor to set aside their current approaches and work to develop a better strategy for reaching a mutually acceptable collective agreement.

We thank you for your consideration of our comments.

Robert MacFarlane,  vice-chair,

Langley Board of Education

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