BC teachers call for mediation
The BC Teachers’ Federation is finally calling on the provincial government to agree to mediation.
“BC teachers have put forward a fair and reasonable framework for a deal that would see improved learning conditions for students on the first school day in September,” BCTF President Jim Iker said today.
“However, two more days of bargaining have gone by with no progress or counter offers from government and BCPSEA. At this point, the best way to get that deal that works for BC’s public education system is through mediation. Christy Clark should say yes to mediation today.”
Iker said that a facilitator has been part of the bargaining process since it started in February 2013. However, it has become clear that government needs more pressure to move off their entrenched positions.
The BCTF’s framework for settlement that is currently on the table is based on five key points:
- a five-year term;
- a reasonable 8% salary increase plus signing bonus;
- no concessions;
- a $225 million annual workload fund to address issues of class size, class composition, and staffing ratios as an interim measure while both parties await the next court ruling;
- a $225 million retroactive grievances fund, over the life of the collective agreement, as a resolution to Justice Griffin’s BC Supreme Court decision that retroactively restored the stripped language from 2002. This fund would be used to address other working conditions like preparation time and TTOC compensation improvements, as well as modest improvements to health benefits.
“Our proposals are fair,” Iker said. “We have been dealing with a government that has a record of bargaining in bad faith and imposing unconstitutional legislation. Evidence from the government’s own officials presented in BC Supreme Court shows the government has stripped $275 million per year from BC’s public education system. That means an entire generation of BC kids have been short-changed.”