Members of the BC Teachers’ Federation have voted to ratify the agreement-in-committee reached on Tuesday, June 26, with the government’s bargaining agent, the BC Public School Employers’ Association.
In a province-wide vote conducted June 27 to 29, a total of 21,044 teachers cast ballots and 75 per cent voted yes. The turnout rate was 52 per cent.
Today’s results are sharp contrast to those of exactly one year ago today, when teachers voted 90 per cent to launch their “teach only” campaign at the beginning of the school year.
“I doubt you could find a single teacher in B.C. who is happy with this agreement because it does absolutely nothing to improve the situation in classrooms for students or teachers,” said Susan Lambert, president of the BC Teachers’ Federation. “It doesn’t address class size and composition nor does it provide a fair and reasonable salary increase for our members, who have fallen far behind teachers in other parts of Canada.”
Lambert noted that the BCTF was able to get modest improvements in terms of most teachers’ benefits, which were extremely outdated, and in some leave provisions.
“However, the most significant achievement is that that we succeeded in getting government take its concession demands off the table,” she said.
“Throughout 80 bargaining sessions, government refused to budge from net zero and persisted in demanding the elimination of hard-won labour rights and fair process provisions around post and fill, and transfer and recall,” Lambert said. “With this settlement we have forced government off its punitive agenda.”
In the coming months teachers say will continue to hold the government accountable for providing the funding, resources, and support to meet the diverse educational needs of B.C. children.
“This year alone, we are facing a $100-million funding shortfall due to inflationary pressures, so we know there will be further cuts to programs and services in schools come September,” Lambert said. “B.C. teachers are proud of our role in building one of the finest public education systems in the world. We will continue to advocate for our students and our schools.”
The BCTF will also seek redress in the courts for past constitutional violations and to challenge Bill 22, which ordered an end to the teachers’ job action and compelled a mediation process under threat of harsh fines.