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BCTF asks LRB to cancel mediator's appointment

The British Columbia Teachers' Federation has asked the Labour Relations Board to cancel the appointment of Charles Jago as mediator in the labour dispute with its employer.

Education Minister George Abbott appointed Jago on March 28 to mediate between the BCTF and the B.C. Public Schools Employers' Association under legislation he said was aimed at ending the dispute.

The BCTF initially reacted to the appointment with concern, and on April 2 sent Jago a three-page letter asking him to resign. The letter outlined the union's reasons, including Jago's lack of mediation experience, the bias expressed in views he included in a 2006 report on the education system and his involvement in drafting the legislation under which he was appointed.

Jago responded in a letter the next day saying he won't withdraw. "I assure you that I am impartial," he wrote. "From the outset I have been clear that I will be fair and balanced in mediating this dispute. I have committed to both you and the government that I will exercise my independence as mediator pursuant to the terms of Bill 22."

The union has posted both its letter and Jago's response on its website.

A BCTF news release said the union "remains unsatisfied that he could reasonably be viewed as impartial."

"This government has legislated a biased process and appointed a mediator who not only lacks experience, but evidently lacks impartiality as well," it quoted President Susan Lambert saying.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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