Poll: Public overwhelmingly favours mediation or arbitration over imposed contract for BC teachers

BC teachers demonstrate January 28, 2012 on Lower Mainland bridges to mark the 2002 contract stripping anniversary.

 

 

The B.C. Federation of Labour released a public opinion survey today that shows British Columbians are on the side of teachers, and overwhelmingly support a negotiated settlement through mediation or arbitration.

“British Columbians are absolutely clear – they want government to negotiate a fair settlement with teachers,” said Sinclair. “They do not want government to act unilaterally.”

Sinclair noted that the BCPSEA had notified the Labour Board on Friday afternoon that it would accept the teachers’ offer of mediation.  “With the employer and the union both agreeing to mediation, there is absolutely no reason for government to proceed with provocative legislation.”

“If Premier Clark is on the side of families, she’ll listen to those families who are telling her to support mediation, and if necessary arbitration,” said Sinclair. “On Monday, we expect the Premier’s appointee to the Labour Board to approve mediation and that she’ll abandon her plans to impose a contract through legislation.”

Key findings in the poll include:

  • 89% support for the appointment of an arbitrator, with the power to end the dispute
  • 82% support for the appointment of a mediator
  • 61% say teachers should hold out for at a least a cost of living increase (only 32% believe teachers should accept no wage increase)
  • 63% of parents believe that their children’s learning has not been affected negatively by the teachers’ job action

In the survey, a majority oppose the imposition of a contract on teachers, particularly if the legislated contract includes a wage freeze and/or concessions.

The phone survey of 400 British Columbians was conducted by Environics for the B.C. Federation of Labour on February 23 and 24. The survey is accurate to +/- 4.9%, at the 95% confidence level.

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