Province: Teachers will be legislated back to work 

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The labour dispute between the provincial government and teachers across the province will remain unresolved as students in Sea to Sky Country ease into a two-week spring break.

The provincial government is in the process of passing legislation that will extend the teachers' expired work contract through to August and bring a mediator into the disagreement.

The union is asking for a 15-per-cent pay raise over three years, while the government is sticking to its "net-zero" mandate — which says public-sector employees can only get a wage increase if they find savings elsewhere in their contracts.

The teachers are also lobbying for changes in the contract language dealing with class sizes and a number of other concerns.

Students in the Sea to Sky corridor are scheduled to return to school from spring break on March 26. The legislation forcing the teachers to return to work under the details in their expired contract is expected to pass before students return to classes.

The two sides in the dispute this week released their own "fact sheets" with opposing statistics and information.

The teachers' federation has claimed B.C teachers are ninth-best paid in Canada while the provincial government said that B.C. teachers are fourth-best paid compared to teachers in other provinces.

Teachers said proposed wage increases are modest while the province said union demands will cost $2 billion.

The NDP has indicated that all of its sitting members of the legislature will talk about Bill 22.

NDP house leader John Horgen told the CBC that the opposition party will use as much time as it can to debate Bill 22 in an attempt to delay implementation of the legislation.

Meanwhile, special programming offered by the Resort Municipality of Whistler was less than half full this week while teachers were off the job for three days. Statistics provided by the RMOW show that only 10 elementary kids signed up for a specially created program Monday and 11 registered Tuesday out of 24 available spaces.

Details on the uptake for programs offered by Whistler Blackcomb and the District of Squamish were not available as of the Pique's deadline.

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