June 16, 2014 - 5:15 PM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN — The teacher’s union had its turn this morning to voice displeasure with the government but this afternoon the government put exact details of proposals by both parties up for inspection.
B.C. Teacher’s Federation President Jim Iker said this morning the union tabled a ‘fair, reasonable and balanced’ proposal and said it was ignored for 48 hours before it was rejected by the government. He claimed they instead returned with a proposal ‘worse than what we had previously.’
This afternoon, the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association released a breakdown of what each party has put on the table.
When it comes to terms and wages the two parties are only one year apart after the teacher’s union offered to come up to five years while the wages are still a bit farther apart. The union is looking for a $5,000 signing bonus, a 3.5 per cent increase for this year and 1.5 per cent in each of the following three years. The union is also looking to change the salary grid by removing several steps.
The government is offering a one per cent increase this year, two percent in 2015, one per cent in 2016, 0.5 per cent in 2017, 1.5 per cent in 2018 and one per cent in 2019.
Another hot button issue—class size and composition—presents a wide divide between the two parties. The union would like to see more funds put aside to resolve outstanding grievances as well as a workload fund to deal with class size composition and staffing ratios.The government has proposed continuing with class sizes as usual and moving funds into the collective agreement to address the concerns. A ‘joint fact finding committee’ would also be established under the government proposal.
Benefits, including professional development funding, preparation time, teacher on call wages and remote recruitment and retention allowances are also all on the table, with the government saying it is willing to negotiate on most of the items.
Both parties say they are still hopeful for a deal to be reached before the end of the month. As it stands teachers begin a full strike Tuesday, which will go until a deal is reached or the end of the school year, whichever comes first.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014