Teacher demands ‘too high’ for mediation

Latest BCTF offer rejected, neither mediation nor a legislated settlement are being considered, Education Minister Peter Fassbender says

Education Minister Peter Fassbender

The latest offer by the B.C. Teachers’ Federation to settle its strike has moved the union farther from the “zone of settlement” established by other public sector unions, Education Minister Peter Fassbender said Thursday.

With a strike underway that could run until the end of the school year, Fassbender said neither mediation nor a legislated settlement is being considered.

Peter Cameron, chief negotiator for the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association, said the latest union proposal would bring the compensation increase for teachers from 12.5% over five years to 14.5%. On wages and benefits alone, Cameron said that is more than twice the increase other unions, including school support staff employees, have accepted.

The BCTF added to its proposal of an 8% wage increase over five years this week with a proposed $225 million fund paid out over five years to settle thousands of grievances filed over the past decade. Those grievances sought to return class size caps and specialist teacher levels that were removed from the contract by legislation, and were ordered restored by a B.C. Supreme Court decision that is now under appeal.

The union wants a second $225 million annual fund to fund ongoing class size and special needs support.

“It is well into the $2 billion range,” Fassbender said of the union proposal. “It’s unaffordable for taxpayers.”

BCTF president Jim Iker said the union’s proposal is fair in light of the latest court decision.

“Evidence from the government’s own officials presented in B.C. Supreme Court shows the government has stripped $275 million per year from B.C.’s public education system,” Iker said.

Fassbender said that misrepresents the situation, because the government has put an extra $1 billion a year into the education system since taking class size and compensation out of the teacher contract in 2002.

It has been spent in different ways, such as learning assistants who are not teachers, full-day kindergarten and a $75 million annual “learning improvement fund” to address class size and special needs support, Fassbender said.

 

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

Just Posted

Rain in Sunday forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap

Environment Canada calling for 15-20 millimetres in regions

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan, Shuswap

Environment Canada is forecasting strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy downpours in parts of the Interior

WorkSafe BC conducted 70 inspections in the Okanagan amid B.C.’s reopening plan

WorkSafe BC has conducted 100 inspections at restaurants across the province since May 19

City hall refurbishment comes in nearly $500,000 over budget

Revelstoke City Council voted unanimously to move forward despite the increased cost

Williamson Lake to open June 1

The park will be open for day use as well as camping

Minimum wage goes up June 1 in B.C. as businesses face COVID-19 challenges

The minimum wage jumps by 75 cents to $14.60 an hour on Monday

PHOTOS: Okanagan residents capture epic lightning show

A look at some of the best shots of the storm on May 30

Big White Ski Resort to offer rebate for pass holders after early closure

Next year’s pass will include a 20 per cent rebate

‘No tick is a good tick’: Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation

The foundation’s president said all ticks that attach to humans and pets can carry various diseases

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Arena served Summerland for 26 years

Warm winters meant short ice seasons in early 1950s

District offers safety tips after cougar spotted near Lake Country school

The animal was seen on a walking trail near Peter Greer Elementary Saturday morning

Most Read