Employer is Simply Making Up Numbers, Teachers Say

Teacher bargainers were astonished and outraged by yesterday’s misleading announcement by the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association that teachers’ proposals would add up to a 35% increase.

“That is simply a fabricated number with no connection whatsoever to reality,” said BCTF President Jinny Sims. “We have not yet tabled a salary figure, so for the employer to put out this wildly inflated number is highly irresponsible.”

Sims pointed to past bargaining rounds, when the BCPSEA employed similar tactics to inflate the cost estimates of teachers’ proposals.

“In the last round we tabled improvements to maternity leave,” Sims said. “When BCPSEA calculated the cost, they assumed every single teacher of child-bearing age would become pregnant within the three-year life of the contract. It was absurd!”

Sims urged parents, students, and teachers not to become alarmed by the employers’ fearmongering.

“As far as we are concerned, we are still at the bargaining table today with a proposal, and we are available over the weekend and 24–7 to reach a negotiated settlement,” Sims said. “Our members will take a democratic vote next week, and the results will be reported next Friday.”

Teachers are reiterating the call for government to meet with the teachers and help arrive at a new mandate for talks. “We need the provincial government to help seek solutions, not legislate more problems,” Sims said. “Teachers want stability in our schools not a strike, but our members are determined to secure improvements to our students’ learning conditions.”

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