Surrey teachers rally outside of Surrey-Newton MLA Harry Bains’ office Sept. 19, 2019 to voice their concerns about the collective bargaining. (File photo: Lauren Collins)


‘One less thing to worry about,’ Surrey Teachers’ president says of BCTF, BCPSEA deal

Groups at the bargaining table for more than a year

The Surrey Teachers’ Association president says he’s “very happy” to hear about the tentative agreement for more than 45,000 teachers in the province.

The BC Teachers’ Federation and the BC Public School Employers’ Association reached a tentative agreement, according to a release from the province on March 26.

The BCTF had been at the bargaining table for more than a year.

The announcement of the tentative deal comes as teachers across the province are figure out remote learning due to the suspension of in-class instruction from the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ ALSO: With B.C. schools closed to most, teachers reach tentative three-year deal, March 26, 2020

READ ALSO: ‘Having to re-invent the way they do their work’: What learning could look like in Surrey amid COVID-19, March 28, 2020

“That was another big source of stress for people around uncertainty about that,” said Matt Westphal, STA president. “It’s one less thing to worry about.

Westphal added that he has yet to see all the details of the agreement, but he is looking forward to reading up on it.

The province says more details will be available one the ratification processes for the teachers and the employer-members of the BCPSEA have been completed.

Westphal previously told the Now-Leader some of the issues with the bargaining were about addressing the issue of recruitment and retention, as well as more funding.

Following a walk-in at Riverdale Elementary on Feb. 28, Westphal said “things are quite serious” in Surrey.

“I’ve yet to talk to a single school who isn’t saying, ‘We are stretched too thin. We have to turn away kids who need extra help. We have to do triage and deal with most severe needs because we don’t have enough extra support for all the students who need it,’” he said.

READ ALSO: ‘We have to triage’: Surrey teachers stage ‘walk-in’ to support public education, Feb. 28, 2020

READ ALSO: Surrey Teachers’ Association rallies about bargaining agreements at NDP MLA offices, Sept. 19, 2020

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