Victoria – This is not what parents want to hear, just days before school starts.
The BCTF, BC Teachers Federation talks with the Province, have stalled.
The Mediator says two sides are too far apart to continue talking for now and went on to say “too many outstanding proposals between parties”.
This is a common tactic in negotiations. The Mediator did not “book out”, rather he put everything on “pause” for a cool down for three weeks.
Job action is not expected.
Negotiations expected to resume September 23.
The school year begins Tuesday with old the contract in place.
As always, class size, portables, wages are the sticking points.
BC Education Minister Rob Flemming remains optimistic that a deal can be made. In 2016, the BCTF won a Supreme Court of Canada battle over class size and composition. BC Teachers’ Federation does not want any changes to that wording.
Here is a statement from President Teri Mooring to BCTF members.
After eight busy days of mediation over the last week and a half, the mediator appointed by the Labour Relations Board has instructed the two sides to recess until the fourth week of September. Mediation will continue then.
This break will give the two sides time to work on their proposals. In particular, the BCTF Bargaining Team is still very concerned about the government’s proposals that would roll back the parts of the Collective Agreement that were restored by the Supreme Court of Canada. Those include provisions on class size, class composition, and staffing ratios for specialist teachers.
The BCTF has been clear that rolling back our restored language is not something we will entertain.
This break in mediation will give our local teachers’ associations time to hold general meetings and get all members up to date on where things stand. No vote on job actions has been authorized at this time.
We hope all teachers will be able to attend those local general meetings and get informed on the impact of the proposed concessions and lack of government funding.
The BCTF will continue its work to pressure the provincial government to give the BC Public School Employers’ Association a workable set of directives. That means ensuring the concessions come off the table and enough new funding is made available to ensure classroom conditions are improved and teachers’ low wages are addressed.
We’ll be sure to send out more information and updates in the coming days. Please look out for information from your locals about details for general meetings.
It’s been a long haul so far, but our Bargaining Team is doing great work. We’ll keep pushing hard together to get a negotiated settlement. Please continue reaching out to NDP MLAs in person and online to ensure they feel the pressure. Those concessions need to come off the table and the employers’ team needs a funding envelope that will get the job done.
Thanks for all the work you’re doing and I hope you all have an excellent first week at school!