Teachers to take strike vote next week

Provincial wage offer too low, class size and support limits still not on table, BCTF's Jim Iker says

B.C. Teachers' Federation president Jim Iker

B.C. teachers will vote on another mandate to strike March 4-6, B.C. Teachers’ Federation president Jim Iker said Tuesday.

“Unreasonable proposals” from the province’s negotiating team include wage increases lower than what other public sector unions have received, and a continued refusal to put class size and special needs support limits back into the contract, Iker told a news conference in Vancouver.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender said wage negotiations “have to start somewhere” and after a year of bargaining, the BCTF has yet to present a wage demand. He declined to provide specifics of the government offer, but said classroom conditions are on the negotiating table.

“Clearly we’re at the table with class size and composition,” Fassbender said. “Our negotiators presented a package of proposals. We are still waiting to see the full proposal, including the wages, from the BCTF.”

Iker confirmed the union has not yet made a wage proposal, after a year of negotiations to replace a contract that expired in June 2013. The union described the government’s offer as a 0.5 per cent increase on ratification, not retroactive to the past year, making three years with no increase.

“The proposal is followed by another zero for 2014-15 school year and then various ones and point fives over the next four years,” the BCTF said in a statement.

Iker said any strike action would be phased in, and would not immediately include forcing teachers to stop extra-curricular volunteer work, withholding report cards or walking off the job.

Peter Cameron, appointed last year as chief negotiator for B.C.’s 60 school boards, said Tuesday he is surprised the union is going to a strike vote without tabling its complete position. There have been hints at the bargaining table that the BCTF has an “extreme” wage demand, he said.

Cameron said the BCTF has characterized the public school system as being in “free fall,” when in fact completion rates have improved over the 12 years when class size and support have been in dispute.

“The graduation rate for special needs kids, for aboriginal kids, has gone up dramatically since 2001,” Cameron said.

 

Just Posted

Alberni teen earns black belt in taekwondo

Lachlan Duncan of Port Alberni earned his black belt at Dragon Martial Arts

ARTS AROUND: See magic on the stage at the Capitol Theatre

Murray Hatfield and Teresa don’t just do magic—they are magic

ELECTION 2018: Ron Corbeil runs for Port Alberni city council

Corbeil wants to focus on the economy, livability and affordability

San Group adds third shift to its Port Alberni mill

The new shift will mean 40 to 50 more jobs

BCHL: Mackenzie Wight returns to Bulldogs lineup

Forward returns following a Memorial Cup run with WHL’s Swift Current Broncos

VIDEO: 41 years later, Saanich author publishes story he wrote at 6 years old

Troy Wilson originally created Captain Otter while Port Alberni Grade 1 student

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care: MCFD

Ministry has limited cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Only 40% of B.C. car dealerships have electric cars available: report

Researchers found buyers frustrated at the lack of options

VIDEO: Millionaire Lottery returns to give back and win big

Since 1996, Millionaire Lottery has raised $52 million for the VGH+UBC Hospital Foundation

Test case challenges a politician’s right to block people from Twitter account

3 people say Watson infringed their constitutional right to freedom of expression by blocking them

‘A little odd’ B.C.’s biggest city celebrates cannabis without a legal store

On the streets of downtown Vancouver, notably the Wild West of illegal marijuana, not a single legal store opened Wednesday, making for a rather anticlimatic kick-off

Most Read