Education ministry adds stick to contract carrot


On Thursday, the province unveiled the carrot, and on Friday, it revealed its stick in negotiations with B.C. teachers.

The head negotiator for B.C. Public School Employers’ Association, Peter Cameron, said teachers’ wages will be cut by five per cent if a deal is not reached by the end of June.

“Teachers are not doing certain things,” Cameron said Friday, referring to recent job action. “They’re working less, they’ll be paid less.”

Teachers have stopped meeting and communicating in writing with administrators, and are not supervising students during non-instructional time. Some districts have seen teachers stop going on field trips.

On Thursday, education minister and former Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender unveiled a new offer that gave in to one of the BC Teachers’ Federation’s major complaints. He backed off on forcing a 10-year contract, proposing six years instead.

Because the current contract expired a year ago, negotiations would begin again in five years.

The government also offered a $1,200 signing bonus for teachers if a contract was settled by the end of the school year.

Teachers have moved from a proposed three-year contract term to a four-year term, and on Thursday, BCTF president Jim Iker was positive about the new announcement on Thursday.

Cameron said the government is offering 7.3 per cent wage increases over six years, but did not have much to say about movement on class size and composition, the other major demand of the teachers.

Teachers want smaller classes and more resources for special needs students.

“Their proposal would have worse outcomes than the present [system],” Cameron told the news conference.

He also said it had “human rights problems,” and that it would be more expensive, in total, than the teachers’ actual wage demands, which he also said were out of line with other recently negotiated wage settlements across the province.

Langley Teachers Association (LTA) president Gail Chaddock-Costello rejected the idea that teachers were doing less work because they had stopped supervision of students.

“If they’re not doing that, they’re doing other things,” she said, including meeting with parents, prepping for lessons or marking.

She was surprised by the suggestion of an imminent wage cut, and said in her opinion it seemed like the government would have to go the Labour Relations Board to try that.

“Threats and intimidation are no way to get a deal at the bargaining table,” Chaddock-Costello said.

She was surprised by the news after both sides moved closer on the contract length on Thursday.

“It did seem quite positive,” she said of the previous day’s developments.

Just Posted

White stuff coats Langley in heaviest snowfall of the season

Langley residents have a day of snow to enjoy before the rain starts again.

Upcycling: possibilities endless for Langley artists using recovered items

Past winner enjoys taking garbage, and not recycling but upcycling it into something better.

Walnut Grove liquor store move turned down by council

For the second time since December, council has voted against the plan.

UPDATE: At least two hospitalized after plane leaves runway at Abbotsford Airport

Incident occurred around noon on Friday; Transport Canada investigating

VIDEO: Langley crews prepare for salting and plowing

With heavy snow expected, crews are working 24-hours until the weather system passes.

Therapy dogs make appearance at B.C. Games

The St. John’s Ambulance therapy dog program launches a pilot project at the 2018 Kamloops B.C. Winter Games

BCHL Today: Cowichan Caps play spoiler and Nanaimo wins 10th straight game

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Federal budget to unveil incentive for 5-week second parent leave: official

Goal behind the measure is to give parents more incentive to share child-rearing responsibilities

Notley says Alberta watching B.C. court bid closely, will get no free ride on it

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley ended the three-week ban on B.C. wine, calming the trade war

Trudeau ends troubled India trip in his comfort zone of hockey and youth

The players, 18-25, came to New Delhi from Ladakhi in northern India, as part of outreach program

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Kim Boutin named Canada’s flag bearer for closing ceremony

Two more medals for Canada, including the bronze in men’s hockey

Team Canada’s Dave Duncan apologizes after drunken joyride in Pyeongchang

Duncan, his wife Maja and Canadian technical coach William Raine detained by South Korean police

Heavy snowfall for Coquihalla

Kelowna - Snowfall is expected to continue on the highway until Sunday

Czechmate: Canada wins men’s Olympic hockey bronze

Vernon’s Andrew Ebbett scores twice as Canada beats Czech Republic 6-4

Most Read