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Teachers and the province no closer to reaching agreement

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It seems more give and take is needed in the BC Teachers dispute with the province.

The two sides still appear far apart in the bargaining process.

There are pretty big gaps when it comes to how long the deals should be, and how much of a wage increase should be given.

The BCPSEA is offering around a seven per cent increase over a 10 year period with an option to renegotiate at the six year mark.

BC Teachers have been calling for a 13.5 per cent wage increase over three years.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender says the gap is a normal part of the process. “Our job now is to see if we can find that middle ground where we can meet the desires of both the employers and the BCTF and my hope is that we can get there.”

Despite the two sides not coming any closer together today, he remains hopeful.

“If we keep our eye on the ball, and that is a long term agreement and stability for students and parents and teachers, that is our goal and we are going to continue to find that negotiated settlement.”

The BCTF has said the only way for it to accept a fair deal is for the government to put new resources on the table, scrap the 10 year plan, and improve class size and composition.

Government chief negotiator Peter Cameron says there’s a need for guidelines for supervision of students just in case job action happens.

“If I write a letter today saying let’s deal with it by agreeing that you are going to do a little bit of supervision where’s it’s necessary for safety.”

Jim Iker with the BCTF says he expects the Labour Relations Board will set student supervision rules in the event of any job action.

“Students have always been safe and supervised in any of our actions because there’s always an agreement or decision made on making sure that there’s enough management people to do that supervision.”