The talks between the BC Teachers’ Federation and the province have stalled due to being too far apart, according to veteran mediator Vince Ready.
As of the last disclosed details on the proposals by the two parties, where do things currently stand?
The BCTF asked for wage increases and a benefit fund that would amount to a 14.5 per cent increase, according to the government negotiators. They are also asking for a $5,000 signing bonus and a $225 million fund over five years to cover additional costs.
An increase in health benefits for teachers would include: $3,000 of massage therapy per year and the inclusion of fertility drugs. An improvement to the dental plan, continuation of benefits for dependents 12 months after a teacher’s death, a for teachers on long-term disability to get the same benefits coverage as those who are still working would also be included.
In a recent press conference following the stalled talks, BCTF president Jim Iker said they removed over $100 million from their proposal but there were no specifics on where those reductions would occur.
The province has offered a seven per cent wage over six years, not compounded. It also includes an Economic Stability Dividend in four installments. If the contract term is extended from six to seven years, teachers would get an additional wage increase of 0.5 per cent in July 2019 and one per cent in May 2020. They have not disclosed any information on benefits.
When it comes to classroom conditions, there are also significant differences. The government has proposed a $75 million annual learning improvement fund; which is one-third of the BCTF’s proposal of $225 million yearly to be used only for hiring additional teachers.
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