WATCH ABOVE: Reporter Keith Baldrey clears up the confusion about some key issues.
VANCOUVER – The B.C. Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) has released a document outlining the key proposals the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the BCPSEA have on the table as collective bargaining continues.
The BCTF said the government’s negotiating team ‘squandered’ an opportunity to get a deal with the teachers this weekend and get the students back to school.
The two sides bargained throughout the weekend at a downtown Vancouver hotel. Things have gone quiet since Friday, with negotiations taking place behind closed doors.
Union President Jim Iker said Monday the provincial government did not respond to their proposal outlined on Friday until Sunday evening, almost 48 hours later.
“The government was unprepared, unwilling and ultimately unhelpful,” said Iker in a press conference this morning. “We made a lot of moves, we waited 48 hours… and what we got back is worse what we got previously.”
BCPSEA chief negotiator Peter Cameron said he was ‘extremely disappointed’ by Jim Iker’s comments that he says are driving the prospect of a settlement further away.
“Misrepresenting the position of the employer and characterizing our efforts in a derogatory way gives his membership a false understanding of what is taking place at the table,” said Cameron.
Cameron called Iker’s comments about the government going backward on the wage offer ‘misleading.’
“Last night, we made the offer of seven per cent. How is seven per cent going backward from 6.5, not to mention the signing bonus,” said Cameron. “I can’t characterize that as anything other than a misrepresentation.”
When it comes to term and wages, the BCTF proposal includes a signing bonus and general wage adjustments of 3.5% on July 1, 2014, then 1.5% on July 1 for the next three years.
The BCPSEA is proposing a $1,200 signing bonus per full-time teacher and a wage adjustment of 1% on July 1, 2014, 2% on Feb. 1, 2015, and then between 0.5% and 1% over the next six years.
See below for what the two sides are asking for:
In a statement issued Monday morning Education Minister Peter Fassbender said, “I appreciated that everyone, especially parents, students and teachers, had hoped to see an agreement over the weekend. BCPSEA has worked very hard to put together a settlement that is fair for teachers, fair for taxpayers, and fair to the 150,000 public-sector workers who’ve already reached agreements. Our goal remains to get to an agreement by June 30 and put this disruption behind us.”
Iker called the proposal they tabled Friday “fair, reasonable and balanced.”
He said they reduced their wage demands, asking for an eight per cent increase over the next five years, but asked for a larger $5,000 signing bonus.
“Our proposal puts us within one percent of the government’s proposal,” said Iker.
The concessions were made to show the union’s willingness to negotiate a fair settlement, according to Iker.
They are also asking for an education fund to be put in place to address class size, composition and staffing levels for specialist teachers.
The teachers’ union served the required 72-hours strike notice last Thursday, after the province’s 41,000 teachers voted 86 per cent in favour of escalating job action.
To see the full document from the BCPSEA here is a PDF.
– With files from Peter Meiszner and Yuliya Talmazan
© Shaw Media, 2014