Big move on the education front.
The BC government has backed away from its long-held demand of a ten year deal with the BC Teachers’ Federation.
Education Minister Peter Fassbender now says teacher’s will be offered a six year deal, including a signing bonus.
But Fassbender says this is not a comedown.
“Well we’re not backing off on our desire for a decade of labour peace, that is fundamental to the platform that we have.”
And another carrot for teachers is a time-limited signing bonus.
“So that we clearly show that we want an agreement, we want that agreement before the end of the school year.”
He won’t say how much the signing bonus might be saying it must be tabled first.
Premier Christy Clark had stated repeatedly she wanted the stability of a ten year deal.
But the union has always said there is no way it would agree to a deal of that duration.
The BC Teachers Federation says members will be relieved a 10 year deal is off the table as the government now offers a six-year-deal and a signing bonus if there’s an agreement before the end of the school year.
President Jim Iker says the 10 year contract proposal was unfair, unreasonable and unworkable.
However Iker says major sticking points remain.
“The government has not tabled or proposed a single improvement to class size, class composition, or staffing levels for specialized teachers who work one on one with our students, and that’s so important for us.”
And of course there is wages “This government is still pushing zeros, a non retroactive increase in year one, and another zero in year two. And we’ve just come off two legislated zeros.”
Iker adds the union wants a four year deal but is open to compromise, and he hopes an agreement will be reached by the end of June.