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

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo’s Mt. Benson with flares during icy rope rescue

Search and rescue team gets injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance

Sofia Low, left, Delilah Maisonneuve, Madi Hickey, Alayna Black, and Maya Wilch, Departure Bay Eco-School students, will turn down the temperature and wear sweaters on Feb. 4, National Sweater Day. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo students will don sweaters next week as part of energy-saving challenge

Departure Bay Eco-School’s green energy team challenges other classes on National Sweater Day

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo’s NRGH

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All seniors in long-term care on the Island will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
UPDATE: Snowfall warning issued for Nanaimo area, up to 5 cm forecast

Snow to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Sofia Low, left, Delilah Maisonneuve, Madi Hickey, Alayna Black, and Maya Wilch, Departure Bay Eco-School students, will turn down the temperature and wear sweaters on Feb. 4, National Sweater Day. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo students will don sweaters next week as part of energy-saving challenge

Departure Bay Eco-School’s green energy team challenges other classes on National Sweater Day

VIU’s health and science centre. (Vancouver Island University photo)
VIU to train 72 health-care assistants to work with seniors

B.C. Ministry of Health announces details of health career access program

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization, a non-profit, seeks to raise $8,000 for a play structure to help children remain active during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization asking for help fundraising for play structure

Physical activities have been limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, says non-profit

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
RCMP asking Vancouver Island residents to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Actions of Vancouver Island RCMP emergency response team members prevented a potential head-on collision accident on the Trans-Canada Highway on Jan. 19, says Nanaimo RCMP. (News Bulletin file)
Eight cars evade vehicle driving on wrong side of highway, says Nanaimo RCMP

Incident occurred near Trans-Canada Highway-Morden Road intersection earlier this week

Most Read