The over year long job action of B.C. teachers may have an end in sight with the announcement of an agreement-in-committee with the government’s bargaining agent, the BC Public School Employers’ Association.
The BCTF Executive Committee is recommending ratification.
“After a long and difficult round of negotiations, we were compelled into this process under threat of huge fines and further punitive legislation,” said BCTF President Susan Lambert. “We have been able to achieve some modest improvements but, above all, we succeeded in getting the government to take its concession demands off the table,” Lambert said, adding that no other public sector union was subject to such an attack on due process and fair treatment.
Premier Christy Clark congratulated those involved with the process to get the agreement in place.
“I would like to congratulate the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association and the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation on reaching a tentative Memorandum of Settlement,” Clark said. “In particular, I want to acknowledge the work of mediator Dr. Charles Jago and Education Minister George Abbott in reaching a fair deal that falls under our net zero mandate, as the government remains committed to balancing the budget.
Jago released the following statement about the process and being the mediator for the discussions.
“I am very pleased that I was able to assist the parties in coming to a resolution of this dispute. I want to congratulate and thank both the BCTF and BCPSEA for their hard work, long hours, and dedication throughout the mediation process,” Jago said. “I am also optimistic this agreement carries the prospect of a much more positive start to the next school year.”
Although the BCTF Executive Committee is recommending ratification of the tentative agreement they did speak about the way the situation has been handled by the government.
“We’ve concluded this agreement in order to prevent government from imposing a contract that would further erode teachers’ hard-won rights and do more harm to students’ learning conditions,” Lambert said.
Lambert said that B.C. teachers will never give up advocating strongly for the funding, resources, and conditions that will enable them to meet the needs of all students.
“We are required to open negotiations again in just eight months, and we will once again be looking for fair treatment at the bargaining table and long awaited improvements for our members and our students,” Lambert said.
Teachers across the province will cast their ballots between June 27–29, 2012, with results of the ratification vote to be announced in the evening of June 29, the last day of the 2011–12 school year.