Pay cuts, lockout mulled in dispute with teachers
Pay cuts and a lockout were on the table Monday as B.C.'s school employers met with trustees to talk about putting the pressure on the teachers' union.
Teachers have been dropping administrative duties like supervising recess and filling out forms as part of a job action underway since the beginning of the school year.
In a meeting with school districts, the B.C. Public School Employers' Association brought up several bargaining tools, including chopping salaries, locking out workers and forcing the union to pay teachers' benefit premiums.
"We will be meeting in the future to discuss the strategic timing and the options that we have," employers' chairwoman Melanie Joy told CTV News.
But Vancouver School Board Chair Patti Bacchus says she hasn't heard many complaints from parents about the teachers' job action, and she's satisfied with the status quo.
"We are urging the Public School Employers' group to be negotiating, to be creative in finding a solution to get to work at the table and not rev up the pressure publicly and not cause disruption in the schools," she said.
The BC Teachers' Federation says the lockout and pay cut options are disproportionately harsh.
"These proposals unnecessarily inflame the situation. Teachers are still in the classroom -- they're still teaching," the union's Glen Hansman said.
Education Minister George Abbott says the government is not considering a lockout, and even if that changed, the Labour Relations Board would have to get involved.
"We would obviously have a discussion with BCPSEA around a dramatic step like that," he said.
Teachers and their employers are scheduled to meet again on Thursday. Teachers have been without a contract since the end of June, and talks have been underway since March.
The union is looking for increases to salaries, benefits and education funding.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Maria Weisgarber