Points made on teachers’ job action

British Columbia Public School Employers' Association

Up to the minute comments from the government side (BCPSEA – BC Public School Employers’ Association) are not plentiful in regard to its ongoing negotiations with the BC Teachers Federation.

The communications department with the provincial Ministry of Education, however, has supplied information pertinent to the process. Solicited email from the Ministry has contained links to recent correspondence countering the teachers union which claims in a recent radio ad: “Across BC, government is forcing school boards to cut programs, teachers and support for kids with special needs, all because per-student funding is $1,000 below the national average.”

In an April 30 letter to BCTF President Jim Iker, Peter Cameron, on behalf of the BCPSEA Bargaining Committee asserts, “BCPSEA has tabled positions that demonstrate our willingness to negotiate a fair agreement for teachers. However, this agreement must also be fair to other public sector employees and affordable for B.C. taxpayers.”

The employers suggest the teachers’ demands are out of line with other public sector deals.

“We hope both sides will be equally motivated to find solutions at the table,” declared Education Minister Peter Fassbender in an April 17 statement, “rather than letting the BCTF’s strike drift on indefinitely.”

Local teachers’s sentiments were sounded by Kootenay Columbia Teachers’ Union President Andy Davidoff, who told the Castlegar News in a May 6 email:

“Teachers continue to be concerned that Premier Clark and her government appear to be trying to provoke an escalation of our job action by continuing to insist on a 10 year contract with no clearly delineated provisions for the last four years and threatening to lock us out and imposing a $5,000,000 “fine” by sending us a bill for our June benefits’ premiums, even if we are still teaching our students, coaching school teams, communicating with parents and preparing report cards. Teachers want a negotiated deal and not a fight.”