British Columbia

BCTF will try to appeal court ruling on bargaining right

BCTF president Jim Iker says the teachers' union will seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

'This is not the decision teachers were hoping for,' says president Jim Iker

B.C. Teachers' Federation president Jim Iker says the union will seek leave to appeal the B.C. Court of Appeal decision to the Supreme Court of Canada. (B.C. Teachers' Federation)

BCTF president Jim Iker says the teachers' union will seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, following today's ruling by the B.C. Court of Appeal.

The court ruled the B.C. government did not violate teachers' constitutional rights when it introduced Bill 22 in 2012 — legislation that temporarily limited teacher bargaining on class size and composition.

 Iker says Thrusday's ruling swings the power too far against workers' rights. 

"We fundamentally disagree with the decision which focuses on pre-legislative consultation by government," BCTF president Jim Iker said in a news conference following the ruling.

Four of five appeal court justices agreed the government acted in good faith when it consulted with teachers before making the decision to strip their ability to negotiate limits on class sizes, teacher librarians and special needs student ratios, along with other elements.

"This decision gives more power to government to undermine collective agreements and workers' rights," he said. 

"A government should not be able to just dictate what they want, simply talk to the union and force it by legislation, when there are collective agreements in place. Collective bargaining needs to be about give and take, about respect and hard negotiations between employers and employees."

The teachers' federation says it will try and take the fight to the Supreme court of Canada. However, an appeal to the nation's highest court isn't automatic. The Supreme Court would have to decide whether the case is in the national interest and grant the union leave to appeal.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story said today's appeal court ruling found the government's actions in stripping teachers of the right to bargain class size and composition in 2002 was constitutional. In fact, the government's actions in 2002 were ruled unconstitutional in 2011, and the government did not appeal. It instead introduced similar legislation in 2012, which was the subject of today's court ruling.
    Apr 30, 2015 4:26 PM PT

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