B.C. Teachers’ Federation rejects mediator’s settlement recommendations

B.C. Teachers' Federation rejects mediator's settlement recommendations
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The collective agreement between the BCTF and the employers' association expired June 30.

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation announced Friday evening that it had rejected the recommendations laid out in the mediator’s report issued Nov. 1.

A mediator’s report that lists the recommendations for a settlement between the B.C. teachers and the province was released to the public on Friday. The report recommends a wage increase of 2% each year from 2019 to 2021. The term of the contract would run from July 1 of this year to June 30, 2022.

That recommendation and all others were rejects by BCTF.

BCTF President Teri Mooring said the BCTF remains committed to getting a negotiated settlement and the Teachers’ Federation is seeking more dates to continue negotiations.

“The main barriers to getting a deal are long-held demands from the employer to rollback the class-size and class-composition language recently restored by the Supreme Court of Canada and a lack of funding from government to make meaningful improvements to teachers’ salaries,” Mooring said.

“BC teachers have the second-lowest starting salary in all of Canada and the lowest overall salary in the Western provinces, including Ontario and Alberta.”

The collective agreement between the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF), which represents 43,000 teachers. and the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) expired on June 30. Mediator David Schaub was brought in by the Labour Relations Board in July and was tasked with filing a report in late September when talks broke down.

The BC Public School Employers’ Association stated earlier this year that it offered a no-concession rollover three-year contract with annual two per cent wage increase, but the BCTF rejected the offer.

The wage offer listed in the recommendation is in line with the deal the province has cut with nearly a quarter-million other public employees so far, guided by its Sustainable Services Mandate.  The mandate limits wage increases to two percent per year.

Mooring said the BCTF has been working within the government’s “Sustainable Services Negotiating Mandate” on the Federation’s salary proposal.

“All along, the BCTF has been seeking the 2%-2%-2% increases consistent with the mandate and grid adjustments to help address BC’s low wages and teacher shortage. Labour market adjustments, low wage redress, and wage comparability adjustments do not trigger the ‘me too’ clauses negotiated by other public sector unions. Those clauses clearly articulate exemptions for allowed adjustments, and nothing in the BCTF’s proposals are a challenge to that mandate,” the federation said in a release.

“The government should stop using “me too” clauses and the mandate as an excuse for not taking steps to address BC’s teacher shortage,” Mooring said “Teachers are seeking the same kind of grid adjustments that other unions like the BCGEU and BCNU were able to achieve in this round under the same mandate.”

Read the list of recommendations below:

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