September 19, 2014 - 4:32 PM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Teachers agreed to a new contract with the government after more than 18 months of negotiations and while not all the details have been released a picture of the deal is starting to emerge.
Negotiations began in February 2013 and by the end of the school year the contract expired. Negotiations continued through the 2013/2014 school year and in April 2014 teachers opted to begin low-level job action to try spurring on talks. When that didn’t work rotating strikes began and by the end of June teachers took to the picket lines full time.
They returned to the picket lines at the beginning of what would have been the school year at the beginning of September. Two weeks into the school year, a tentative agreement was reached and this week 75 per cent of the 41,000 teachers in B.C. voted to accept it, allowing school to begin early next week, three weeks late.
Here are the details of the teachers' contract made public so far:
- A six-year term that will end in 2019.
- A $75 million annual learning improvement fund, building to $85 million, will be used to hire more classroom and specialist teachers. This will result in several hundred more teaching positions each year.
- A 7.25 per cent salary increase over the six years of the contract.
- A one-time payment of $105 million to be used as grievance remedy.
- More preparation time for elementary teachers. An increase to 100 minutes from the average of 90 now available, with another increase to 110 minutes planned.
- Teachers on call will get better compensation.
- Most teachers will see an improvement to extended health and dental benefits.
- The E-80 clause dealing with the court case surrounding class size and composition has been taken off the table.
The court case surrounding class size and composition will go before the Court of Appeal in October. Negotiations around those details could resume following a decision from the courts but Premier Christy Clark said earlier this week she did not want to predict what will happen.
The specific numbers and costs are expected to be outlined over the next couple of days but Clark and Finance Minister Mike de Jong both say the agreement is within the budgeted mandate and will not result in a tax increase.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014