B.C. teachers could be forced to pay for benefits during job action
Employers association says costs would be refunded if a deal is reached by June
The president of the B.C. Teachers Federation says they will challenge any attempt by employers to transfer the costs of benefits premiums to teachers during the ongoing job action.
A transfer of those benefits premiums could cost the BCTF $5 million a month.
The B.C. Public School Employers Association has promised to do just that if there isn’t a new contract in place by the end of June, although the association will continue to pay Life Insurance and Accidental Death and Dismemberment coverage.
Spokesperson Jim Cameron says they are within their legal rights to do that.
Earlier this week Cameron said the negations on the ongoing contract dispute are reaching a stalemate.
"We are hoping to encourage some bargaining so that we can get a deal before the end of the school year," he said on Wednesday.
"You may also notice in the letter that we have undertaken to pay the money back to the union if there is in fact a deal by the end of June."
But BCTF president Jim Iker calls the move punitive and notes the teachers' contract expired last June, and while they have begun job actions, they have yet to exercise their right to strike.
"We are working in the classroom teaching, we are doing our volunteer activity. We are meeting with parents and doing report cards," said Iker.
"Today we receive a letter from them stating we expect you after we invoice you to pay the cost of premium benefits while we are working. That doesn't make sense to us. "