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

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.

 

Just Posted

Wind warning in effect for Greater Victoria

Strong winds could reach up to 80 km/hr along coastal areas

Whisky society commits to charity donation in wake of whisky raids

Refund of Victoria Whiskey Festival tickets won’t impact charity beneficiaries

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington for the day

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, “high avalanche danger”

Cordova Bay group against plaza redevelopment

Cordova Bay shopping centre has three, four-storey buildings

Victoria housing provider launches crisis prevention program to combat homelessness

Pacifica Housing aims to address challenges before tenants risk evictions

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Touring art from war-torn Syria on display at Cedar Hill

Behind the Lines: Contemporary Syrian Art, Jan. 24 to Feb. 5 at Cedar Hill Arts Centre

Vessel washed ashore in Campbell River during last night’s storm

A vessel appears to have gotten loose and washed to shore on… Continue reading

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

WHL winning streak ends at four in Kelowna for Victoria

Royals lose 8-4 as Rockets explode offensively

Wind warning back in effect around Vancouver Island

80 km/h winds expected Saturday, Jan. 20, on east coast of Island, 100 km/h on west coast

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

Most Read