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Bureaucrat appointed to assess likelihood of reaching deal with B.C. teachers

Feb 09 2012

The B.C. government has asked a senior bureaucrat to assess the likelihood of reaching a deal with striking school teachers.

Labour Minister Margaret MacDiarmid has appointed her assistant deputy minister of industrial relations to head the inquiry.

Trevor Hughes will meet with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association over the next two weeks.

He is expected to submit a report to MacDiarmid by Feb. 23.

Hughes was appointed at the request of Education Minister George Abbott, who last month dismissed teachers’ demands for a 15 per cent pay increase over three years.

Abbott said the union’s demands violated government’s “net-zero mandate,” which that public sector employees can only get a wage increase if they find savings elsewhere in their contracts.

The teachers’ federation, which represents 41,000 teachers across the province, has been without a contract since last June. They began job action in September, refusing to meet with administrators, supervise playgrounds or prepare report cards.

The government said in a new release today that Hughes joined the labour ministry in October 2008. The industrial relations division monitors labour disputes and helps out cases that affect the public interest.