Negotiated Settlement with the BC Teachers’ Federation Unlikely

“The likelihood of reaching a negotiated deal at the table with the BC Teachers’ Federation is remote,” said Ron Christensen, Chair of the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA).
“Although we’ve had 35 bargaining sessions to date, the parties are
very far apart. There has been no agreement on any of the items on the table,”
Christensen said.
“The BCTF have proposals on the table that we have costed as being
in excess of a 35% increase annually,” said Christensen. “And even though more
than 100 settlements have been achieved in the broad public sector under the
net zero compensation mandate, including 30 settlements with support staff
unions in the K-12 sector, the BCTF have said at the bargaining table again
today that they have no interest in trying to negotiate an agreement under the
net zero mandate.”
“At today’s bargaining session, we offered the BCTF a two year term
which would take them through the end of the compensation mandate, and a return to
the table in March 2006,” Christensen continued. “That would provide an
opportunity to negotiate under the new compensation mandate that the Minister
of Finance said yesterday would ‘provide for pay increases that reflect labour
market conditions and are sustainable over the long term.’ The BCTF rejected
our proposal outright and left the table.”
“We are very disappointed that the BCTF is unwilling to participate
in meaningful negotiations at the table,” Christensen said. “They still haven’t
even tabled a specific wage proposal. They have also indicated they have
further cost items to come. The BCTF focus seems to be on preparing for their
strike vote next week, rather than on concluding a collective agreement. We
have asked the BCTF to delay their strike vote, which they have refused to do.
We are very concerned about the disruption to parents and students that would
result from BCTF job action.”