Strikes may continue at BCIT

Bargaining will resume this month after the union agreed not to take any strike action during the holiday season

Faculty and Staff Association (FSA) and BCIT will resume this month, while the British Columbia Government Employees’ Union (BCGEU) also has yet to reach an agreement with BCIT.

BCIT President Don Wright has announced that he supports the strike demands and will do what he can to help send the message to the government, but options are limited.

BCIT does not have a mandate from the Provincial Government to settle the FSA and BCGEU’s issues. Therefore, members of the BCGEU and the FSA (and their supporters) are trying to communicate their message to the provincial government.

The FSA decided not to take any strike action during the holiday season.

“We did agree that there wouldn’t be any job action again until January 7,” said Paul Reniers, executive director of the FSA.

According to Reniers, the FSA has also agreed to enter into mediation beginning January 8, and is confident that there won’t be any job action during the mediation period.

[pullquote]“There are a number of significant issues that still need to be addressed.”[/pullquote]“Mediation is scheduled with the Labour Relations Board from January 8 to 11,” said Reniers. “We do not expect any job action in that period either, and we’ll see where that gets us.”

Mediation involves negotiations with the assistance of a facilitator from the BC Labour Relations Board. “A senior mediator from the Labour Relations Board is going to meet with both the parties and basically settle in-between them, trying to find some common ground,” Reniers told The Link.

The mediation is informal and non-binding and will not produce a report unless there is an agreement between both parties.

BCGEU Bargaining Committee Chair Richard Schaeffer says an agreement has yet to be reached.

“There was one day of bargaining just prior to the holidays, but we were not successful in reaching an agreement,” said Schaeffer.
Reniers and Schaeffer told The Link that job action is possible, but neither of them are sure when it will resume.

“Through until the eleventh, I really don’t see any direct impact on students. After that point, it depends on how that mediation goes,” said Reniers.
Reniers says he is glad that four days of mediation are booked because there is still a lot to get through.

“Some issues might fall off the table very quickly, but there are a number of significant issues that still need to be addressed,” said Reniers.

For updates on this story as it develops, please visit us at www.linknewspaper.ca or just follow @BCIT_Link on Twitter.[hr]

Neetu was born and raised in the Okanagan Valley (minus the few toddler years she spent living in Punjab, India where her line of heritage is from). She moved to the lower mainland to attend BCIT and is now in her graduating year of the Broadcast and Online Journalism Program. Her writing and editing for Link magazine often happens late at night because when she's not at school she works as a reporter and anchor for CKNW Newstalk 980 and is also involved in the start up of a charity called the Beautiful World Foundation. She loves to travel and feels fortunate to be in a field where she can share the stories of interesting and inspiring people from around the world.

neetu@linknewspaper.ca

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