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)

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

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo/submitted)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Government’s inaction has led to old-fashioned ‘war in the woods’

How can we still be debating the value of old-growth forests in 2021, asks letter writer

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools. (News Bulletin file)
Pleasant Valley school in Nanaimo sees case of COVID-19

Potential exposure date April 13, says Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools

The City of Nanaimo’s finance and audit committee has recommended spending $200,000 from reserves on a feasibility study and conceptual designs for a community centre in the south end. (News Bulletin file photo)
City of Nanaimo will study options for south-end community centre

Finance committee recommends spending $200,000 from reserves for feasibility study and concept plans

First responders on scene at Qwam Qwum Stuwixwulh School south of Nanaimo on Thursday afternoon. (Karl Yu/The News Bulletin)
One child airlifted after quad accident at Nanaimo district school

First responders called to Qwam Qwum Stuwixwulh School at around 3:30 p.m.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

B.C. Centre for Disease Control reports 65 new cases in Oceanside health area April 4-10

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The family of Iris McNeil, shown here with members of her family, has launched a petition to deny parole for the man who murdered McNeil in 1997. (Family photo)
Family fights killer’s release from Vancouver Island prison

Shortreed serving an indeterminate sentence at William Head Institution

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Premier John Horgan booked to get AstraZeneca shot Friday

‘Let’s show all British Columbians that the best vaccine is the one that’s available to you now,’ he said

Nanaimo city councillors, at a finance and audit committee meeting Wednesday, April 14, recommended spending $400,000 on nighttime security throughout downtown and the Old City Quarter. (Stock photo)
Nanaimo city councillors recommend $400,000 spending on downtown security

City will also spend $50,000 to hire consultant to prepare a public safety action plan

Doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine in a freezer trailer, to be transported to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canada’s incoming supply of Moderna vaccine slashed in half through end of April

Moderna plans to ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million

An armed officer walks outside Cerwydden Care on Cowichan Lake Road near Skinner Road Wednesday, April 14 around 5:30 p.m. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Police standoff at Duncan apartment ends peacefully

Officers surround building as homeowner held in apartment for nearly four hours by adult son

Beef to the beefers. Please season your beefs. We require a little more spice in our Wednesday-morning work beef huddle.
Beefs & Bouquets, April 14

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks about the province’s COVID-19 vaccine plans during a news conference at the legislature in Victoria. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
P.1 variant likely highest in B.C. due to more testing for it: Dr. Henry

Overall, just under 60% of new daily cases in the province involve variants

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

Most Read