It’s back to the bargaining table for B.C. teachers and the provincial government after Canada’s highest court restored the union’s right to negotiate classroom conditions – but what exactly they’ll be negotiating remains up in the air.
Though ask the BC Teachers’ Federation, and you’ll get a different answer.
LISTEN: BCTF President Glen Hansman on the meaning of last week’s Supreme Court of Canada ruling
President Glen Hansman says the Supreme Court of Canada ruling is clear: The original language stripped from teachers’ contracts in 2002 must be restored, and class size and composition issues will not be bargained for all over again.
“We’re not going to be starting over from scratch, no absolutely not,” he told Mike Smyth on the Simi Sara Show.
“The government better not be thinking they can try the same trick again. We’re not looking at a situation where we’re going to talk about sort of an open-ended fund and hope for the best.”
Hansman says where the negotiations will take place, is over how to get those old contract terms back in place.
“The judge and the B.C. Court of Appeal was very clear about what’s to flow out of this, what we do need to talk about is the implementation,” he said.
But the case may not be as crystal clear as Hansman says.
In the teachers’ most recent collective agreement, signed at the end of 2014’s bitter strike, the employer and union agreed if the courts restored the stripped-out contract language, then “the parties would reopen the collective agreement on the issue, and the parties will bargain from the restored language.”
Asked what will be on the table when the parties meet, the province wouldn’t say.
In a statement to CKNW, it says that the collective agreement remains in place and that a process must be followed before any changes are made in school.
“It’s premature to speculate on the outcome of those discussions. This process will be moving forward at any time, and it is important we respect that process and keep those matters at the meeting table.”
No date for talks has yet been made public.
With files from Emily Lazatin