May 15, 2014 8:55 pm

“We’re not there yet, we need to see real investment from our government”: BCTF

WATCH (above): A new deal is on the table that could have a big impact on negotiations between the government and teachers in this province. Keith Baldrey joins us with more on the details of this proposed deal – which includes a shorter contract.

In the interest of reaching an agreement with the B.C. teachers before the end of the school year, the Minister of Education presented a deal for the bargaining table this afternoon.

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There are two “significant incentives” being offered which includes a six-year term along with a time-limited signing bonus in order to meet their end of the year deadline.

The bargaining process has been on-going for 16 months and the originally proposed 10-year deal was one of the key reasons the government and B.C. Teachers’ Federation have not been able to reach an agreement. 

In response to Fassbender’s announcement of the six-year deal Jim Iker, BCTF president said, “teachers will be relieved to see [the 10-year deal] off the table. It was an unfair, unreasonable, unworkable proposal right from the very beginning.”

But Iker was quick to add that although they may be closer in term, he will not know how “workable” the deal is since the government has not addressed other areas of concern for teachers.

“The government has not tabled or proposed a single improvement to class size, class composition or staffing levels for specialist teachers who work one-on-one with our students — and that’s so important for us,” Iker said.

READ MORE: Leaked teacher strike documents prompts BCTF denial

According to Education Minister Peter Fassbender, the six-year term would be the longest agreement ever reached with the BCTF. It would also keep “the door open to a 10-year agreement next.”

“Students and parents don’t need to begin yet another school year in September with the threat of a full strike and major disruption hanging over their heads,” Fassbender said.

The amount and details surrounding the time-limited signing bonus were not released to the media.

Fassbender said this new six-year deal does not show the government “backing off in wanting a decade of labour peace” but that it’s a first step towards 10 years.

READ MORE: B.C. teachers issue 72 hour strike notice

“[With this deal] we want to say to teachers we want long term stability, and we want to say to parents and students this is all about your education, and that we know stability in the classrooms are fundamental to their outcome.”

BC Public School Employers’ Association Chief Negotiator Peter Cameron will be presenting the deal to the BCTF on Friday.

WATCH: Education Minister Peter Fassbender discusses the new deal that will be presented to the BCTF on Friday.

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