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'Kids deserve better': BCTF, province kick off mediation just two weeks before school starts

Last Updated Aug 19, 2019 at 6:27 am PST

Classroom. iStock iStock

The BCTF and province are set to kick off eight days, if needed, of mediated talks, just two weeks before school starts

At issue are class size and composition, as well as wages, the BCTF says

The BCTF has launched targeted ads which claim the province 'promised better', and that 'kids deserve better'

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – School may still be out for summer, but with class bells set to start ringing in just two weeks, the next eight or so days will be critical as B.C.’s unionized teachers and the province come back for mediated talks on Monday.

What the next school year will look like for your children will depend on what comes from these talks — but any potential job action isn’t expected to disrupt the beginning of the academic year.

As the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association talks kick off, the union which represents more than 40,000 teachers province-wide is taking aim at the B.C. government in a new advertisement.

“B.C. teachers are getting ready for the new school year and we’re eager to get back into our classrooms,” the BCTF says in the ad. “The last place we thought we’d be is still at the bargaining table.

“The province’s negotiators are pushing hard for bigger classes, less support for kids with special needs, and fewer specialist teachers. This government promised better, parents and teachers expected better, and kids deserve better,” the union’s ad continues. “We can’t go backwards. Nobody voted for that.”

Key concerns for the BCTF include class size and composition, as well as wages.

The union has said the province also needs to do a better job of offering incentives to keep teachers in B.C.

With school bells set to start ringing on September 3rd, there’s little time left for an agreement to be reached, however the union has insisted that eight days is plenty of time for that to happen.