The BC Public School Employers’ Association has tabled a package of proposals that, says the Revelstoke Teachers’ Association, would eliminate working conditions standards and widely-accepted union principles such as seniority, transparency and objectivity in hiring. As well, it would strip fairness and due process from evaluation, discipline and dismissal, the RTA says.
“Teachers all over BC are eager to reach a negotiated settlement to the current labour dispute, but facing such disrespectful demands it’s practically impossible to move forward at the provincial bargaining table,” RTA Acting President Jennifer Wolney said in a statement released Monday morning.
Teachers are calling on government to respect their right to full and free collective bargaining, a right which was upheld by the BC Supreme Court last April. Further, they expect clauses that were illegally stripped from their collective agreements to be restored. However, despite the Supreme Court ruling, the employer has come to the bargaining table offering nothing in terms of improvements to classroom conditions, salary or benefits, and demanding significant concessions. These include:
- no salary increase
- no improvement in any provision
- virtual elimination of seniority
- no requirements for how a position is posted
- no more collegial process for assignments
- forced transfers of any employee at the initiative of the employer
- no more grievance process for disputes in posting and filling
- elimination of processes during discipline and dismissal
- dismissal for failure to demonstrate competence through evaluation
- cap on sick leave accrual of 200 days
- restrictions on maternity/parental leave
- two year term.
“It’s ironic that while the Ministry of Education is planning for 21st century learning, the employer is demonstrating 19th century labour relations practice,” said BCTF President Susan Lambert.
Wolney agreed, noting that “this proposal actually moves bargaining backwards, not forwards.”
Meanwhile, the BCTF bargaining team tabled revised proposals on various leave provisions which would reduce the cost of the package. In addition, BCTF has modified its proposal on preparation time so that improvements would be phased in over four years to bring BC teachers up to 25% preparation time, which is currently the standard in Ontario. This is consistent with the proposal brought forward by the BCTF at another table dealing with the repercussions of the Supreme Court ruling on the unconstitutionality of the Liberals’ Bills 27 and 28, which stripped teachers’ collective agreements.
For more information, contact: Jennifer Wolney at the RTA Office – 250-837-2255.