UPDATE: School strike on as talks collapse

An exchange of proposals between the B.C. Teachers' Federation and government negotiators on the weekend dissolves in acrimony

Peter Cameron

Peter Cameron

An exchange of proposals between the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and government negotiators on the weekend dissolved in acrimony Monday, with a full-scale strike in public schools already underway.

Negotiators for the BCTF and the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association met until midnight Sunday, as the union moved from rotating strikes to a full walkout with a “study session” on Monday. The two sides contradicted each other on the substance of the wage offers, and each said the next move is up to the other if a deal is to be reached.

BCTF president Jim Iker said a complete strike is “imminent,” after union members endorsed the move in their second province-wide strike vote.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender said Monday he is waiting for a response from the union to the latest offer from BCPSEA, which represents the province’s 60 school districts. BCPSEA chief negotiator Peter Cameron said Monday he still does not have a full position from the BCTF that clarifies the status of the union’s “truckload of benefit provisions.”

Cameron said the union’s latest wage offer is a reduction from its previous position, but when increased benefit costs are factored in, it is still more than twice as much compensation as other public sector union settlements.

BCPSEA posted a comparison of the two wage offers Monday. It describes the BCTF proposal as a $5,000 signing bonus followed by increases of 3.5% in the first year and 1.5% in each of the next three years, for a total raise of 8% plus compounding.

BCPSEA’s latest offer includes a $1,200 signing bonus for an agreement by the end of the school year, and a series of wage increases up to May 2019 that includes “economic stability dividend” amounts depending on B.C.’s economic performance.

“[BCPSEA] tabled a comprehensive settlement that includes an improved wage offer and commits to realistic and flexible solutions to address class composition,” Fassbender said.

The B.C. Labour Relations Board has extended its essential services order to include provincial final exams and marks for graduating students, so they can apply for post-secondary studies.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A heavy police presence was on scene on Dec. 28, 2017 following the shooting death on Bates Road in Abbotsford of Alexander Blanarou, 24, of Surrey. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Three men charged with Abbotsford shooting death of Surrey man

Alexander Blanarou, 24, was killed in a rural area on Dec. 28, 2017

A criminal trial for Robert Boule (inset), the owner of the Smuggler’s Inn, is to begin in August 2021, following a failed application to strike down immigration-act provisions that he is charged under. (Photo courtesy of The Northern Light newspaper)
Blaine inn owner’s challenge of immigration act fails

Robert Boule’s trial on human-smuggling charges set to begin August 2021

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Mirandy Tracy, left, and Tara Kurtz are two Langley mothers who are organizing a "sick out" for Tuesday, Dec. 1 to protest COVID conditions in schools. They're calling for masks and smaller class sizes, among other things. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Politician, labour leader throw support behind student Sick Out day

Langley parents started the movement to keep kids home on Dec. 1 as a protest

A family emerged with a purchase at the Tannenbaum Tree Farm at 5398 252 St in Aldergrove on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Christmas tree season is off to an early start

People are ‘bored’ with staying home due to COVID-19 and want to decorate early, farm owner believes

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A convoy of seven pickup trucks, six of which were hauling boats, makes its way around the Chilliwack Law Courts on Dec. 1, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
First court date for Fraser River anglers ticketed during demonstration fishery

Convoy of trucks circled the courthouse in downtown Chilliwack Tuesday honking their support

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Most Read