On Friday evening, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) announced that it had rejected the recommendations laid out in the mediator’s report issued on Nov. 1. (Black Press Media file photo)

BCTF rejects mediator’s recommendations for settlement

Negotiations between B.C. teachers and the province will continue

On Friday evening, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) announced that it had rejected the recommendations laid out in the mediator’s report issued on Nov. 1.

Mediator David Schaub of the Labour Relations Board of British Columbia presented the report containing recommendations for settlement to both the BCTF and the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) which represents the province in the negotiations. Schaub asked that both sides come to him with a decision by the end of the day on Friday, Nov. 8.

On Thursday, BCTF president Teri Mooring explained that the main issues teachers in B.C. are facing include a teacher shortage due to low wages and a lack of class size and composition limits. Teachers in B.C. have the lowest starting wages in Canada and the lowest overall maximum wages in Western Canada, she noted. As a result, the province is experiencing a teacher shortage because it’s tough to recruit new teachers and keep ones that are already working in B.C. Teachers are asking for a wage increase that aligns with inflation.

READ ALSO: Saanich teachers honour CUPE picket line while BCTF negotiates for new teacher contract

The province has been offering a 2 per cent raise each year for three years, which Mooring noted does not match inflation. The BCTF acknowledged that a raise of more than 2 per cent would trigger the “me-too” clause that would require other public sector unions to receive the same wage increase. Instead, it was suggested that the B.C. teachers’ salary grid be bumped up and that the starting wage be dropped. This would scale the pay of all teachers up without changing the salary allotment.

“Teachers are seeking the same kind of grid adjustments that other unions like the BCGEU [B.C. Government & Service Employees’ Union] and BCNU [B.C. Nurses’ Union] were able to achieve in this round under the same mandate,” said Mooring in a written statement on Friday.

The BCTF also noted that the mediator’s report did not include recommendations for improvements to class size and composition limits.

Teachers are expected to individually address the learning needs of each student so that they can succeed and to do this, class sizes need to be manageable, Mooring explained.

She noted that teachers have made concessions regarding salary and benefits in past negotiations in an effort to make the student learning environment better by focusing on class size and composition limits. In 2002, language regarding class size and composition was “stripped from the contract” and she feels teachers should be able to negotiate without making concessions about wages and benefits this time around.

In a written statement, BCPSEA board chair Alan Chell said the employer was “surprised and disappointed” that the BCTF did not agree to the mediator’s recommendations.

“Although the mediator’s recommendations didn’t represent BCPSEA’s preferred approach, the board believed they would provide the public school system with the necessary labour stability while we attempted to work with the BCTF.”

READ ALSO: BCTF wins grievance over teacher shortage in public schools

On Thursday, Schaub told Black Press Media that if one or both of the parties don’t agree to the settlement recommendations, dates for future negotiations will be set.

As negotiations continue, both sides have indicated a desire to keep the conversation moving.

“We’re not going to solve 20 years of under-funding all at once, but we need to move forward,” Mooring told Black Press Media on Thursday. “We will work as hard as we can to achieve a deal.”

Negotiations between the BCTF and BCPSEA have been ongoing since February. The previous Provincial Collective Agreement expired on June 30 so B.C. teachers currently have no contract.

Black Press Media reached out to the mediator, but he could not be reached for comment by press time.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Princeton mayor issues invite to Royals, despite resident concerns over who pays for security

The Town of Princeton will officially invite Prince Harry and his wife… Continue reading

COLUMN: Pre-clearance changes at Canadian airports

Some believe these expanded powers may be contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Okanagan among Canada’s most at-risk habitats: WWF report

Report found the Okanagan is inadequately protected despite being a hotspot for at-risk species

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Prince Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Like many in British Columbia, you may be worried about running into… Continue reading

Almost 20,000 parking tickets issued by Interior Health at hospitals in 2019

In 2018, pay parking in Interior Health hospitals totalled $5.3 million of their $2.2-billion budget

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

Uber, Lyft approved for ride-hailing in Lower Mainland

Kater Technologies Inc.’s application was rejected

B.C. man rescued after getting trapped headfirst in well as water level rose

The rescue involved crews from Oak Bay and Saanich

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Lower Mainland police officer

Delta officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving a co-worker is investigated

Former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse in B.C. granted day parole

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s

VIDEO: Person in wheelchair narrowly avoids collision with car in Kelowna

There were no injuries in the scary looking near-accident last week in Rutland

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

Most Read