Can the government be trusted to accept mediation?

Things would seem to be crackling along here on the Wednesday before school is set to start for September… or not –depending  on how negotiations go. With Vince Ready agreeing to meet both parties in the same room, there is faint hope that a mediated settlement can be found that will be agreeable to both parties.

But that hope is faint indeed.

Considering all that has happened, it would be courageous almost to the point of foolhardy for the teachers union to trust that the government will accept mediation in good faith. This is the same government that has tried every conceivable stunt to discredit the union. This is the government who was first to begin a long campaign of negotiating in the press. It’s the same one that saw the Minister of Education spectacularly break the media blackout agreed to by both parties while a potential mediator was being consulted.

This is the same government that illegally stripped a contract and then when ordered by the court to make restitution, rewrote the contract with the same illegal conditions.

This is the same government that used the union in order to score political points in an election campaign by goading them into a strike so that they could stride in like Gary Cooper in “High Noon” and order the teachers back to work.

This is the same government that threatened to stop paying health benefits during the teachers’ Phase 1 campaign. Then, finding out that such action would be completely illegal, came up with a 10% reduction in pay and a bogus “partial lockout” to justify it.

This is the same government whose Premier actually called the membership “greedy”. It’s the same government who made a promise to negotiate over the weekend before a full scale strike started, and then disappeared for 48 hours only to reappear with a lowered wage offer. It’s the same duplicitous government that has been mired in scandal after scandal, and ugly demeaning campaigns agains its rivals.

Bad faith negotiating has been their hallmark. It would take some kind of fool to trust them now.

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