B.C. teacher negotiations delayed until after school starts
Alyse Kotyk, CTV News Vancouver
Published Friday, August 30, 2019 5:23PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, August 30, 2019 7:03PM PDT
After days of mediated negotiations between B.C.'s teachers and the province, talks have been put on hold until after school starts.
In a statement on Friday, the BC Public School Employers' Association announced the mediator has advised the involved parties that "there are too many outstanding proposals" between them.
Mediated talks will be put on hold until Sept. 23 and the start of school won't be disrupted as no vote on job actions has been authorized by the union.
"This break will give the two sides time to work on their proposals. In particular, the BCTF bargaining team is still very concerned about the government’s proposals that would roll back the parts of the collective agreement that were restored by the Supreme Court of Canada," said BC Teachers' Federation president Teri Mooring in a statement.
"Those include provisions on class size, class composition, and staffing ratios for specialist teachers."
Negotiations between the BCTF and the province began in February of this year. At the end of June, the current contract expired, so in July, a mediator was assigned to talks by the Labour Relations Board.
After Friday's meetings, Rob Fleming, minister of education, issued a statement saying in part, "We want the parties to reach a fair deal. We want students to have good services in every corner of BC, and we want to get fair wage increases into the pockets of teachers … This pause will give both sides time to reflect and let the school system focus on getting kids back into the classroom."
When talks started, the BCTF said that while bargaining would focus on class size and composition, wages were also an issue.
"The BCTF will continue its work to pressure the provincial government to give the BC Public School Employers’ Association a workable set of directives," Mooring's statement said.
"That means ensuring the concessions come off the table and enough new funding is made available to ensure classroom conditions are improved and teachers’ low wages are addressed."
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Bhinder Sajan