B.C. teachers paycut threatened over limited job action
Government applies stick, a day after offering carrot
The B.C. Public School Employer's Association is threatening to cut teachers' pay by five per cent in retaliation for the limited job action teachers started last month.
Speaking at a news conference BCPSEA chief negotiator Peter Cameron said teachers on reduced duties deserve a reduction in pay.
B.C.'s teachers are in the first stage of job action over an impasse with government on a new contract and have withdrawn their participation in non-teaching duties.
We'll discuss those threats at the Labour Relations Board- BCTF President Jim Iker
Teachers are also no longer attending meetings or supervising students outside of class, and are limiting their non-class time to one hour before and after class.
The 'stick' comes only a day after Education Minister Peter Fassbender offered the 'carrot' of a reduced contract term — six years instead of the 10 years government had been demanding.
Fassbender also offered teachers a pro-rated $1,200 signing bonus if an agreement were to be reached before the end of the school year.
Cameron says when all of the teachers' demands are factored together, it amounts to a 21.5 per cent increase over the life of the contract.
Threats 'more of the same'
Speaking at a news conference called following the employer's briefing, B.C. Teachers' Federation president Jim Iker said the tactics are nothing new for this government.
"Today what did we see at the bargaining table? We saw more threats from this government, more of the same from the same people that the B.C. Supreme Court had said were bargaining in bad faith and trying to provoke fights with us for partisan gain," he said.
"We'll discuss those threats at the Labour Relations Board."
Iker says there won't be a deal unless the government is prepared to put appropriate class size limits, class size composition guarantees and guaranteed staffing levels for specialist teachers into the contract.
"The B.C. Supreme Court has ruled these provisions must be returned and teachers are determined to accomplish that," Iker told reporters.
Iker says the government's wage offer is also unfair, including a "zero in year two", that is no pay rise in the second year, following two years of legislated zero pay increases in the teachers' previous contract.
With files from Richard Zussman