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B.C. teachers' union rejects mediator recommendations, seeks more bargaining

Last Updated Nov 8, 2019 at 7:14 pm PDT


The union has been in mediation with the employer since July, but mediation was called off in September

The mediator has issued a report recommending a way forward and the union has rejected those recommendations

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The BC Teachers’ Federation has rejected recommendations by a government-appointed mediator, seeking more bargaining sessions to replace a contract that expired at the end of June.

The teachers’ union has been in mediation with the BC Public School Employers’ Association since July.

Mediation was called off in September, with the employer asking for a written report recommending a way forward.

The report was issued Nov. 1. On Friday, after a media blackout was lifted, union leaders issued a statement saying the have rejected it and asking to go back to the bargaining table.

“The main barriers to getting a deal are long-held demands from the employer to rollback the class-size and class-composition language recently restored by the Supreme Court of Canada and a lack of funding from government to make meaningful improvements to teachers’ salaries,” says BCTF President Teri Mooring. “B.C. teachers have the second-lowest starting salary in all of Canada and the lowest overall salary in the Western provinces, including Ontario and Alberta.”

The BC Public School Employers’ Association says it has accepted the recommendations outlined in the 68-page report.

“After a combined total of 69 bargaining and mediation sessions, the BCPSEA Board of Director was surprised and disappointed to be advised that the BCTF Executive had rejected the mediator’s recommendations for settlement and would not take them forward for a vote of the BCTF membership,” says BCPSEA Board Chair Alan Chell. “In our view, this is a missed opportunity to work with the mediator to create a pathway to move forward.”

The BCPSEA has released a summary of the mediator’s recommendations, which include standard wage increases of two per cent per year for each of the next three years.