B.C. Teachers, government hit impasse during contract talks: negotiator

Students listen as British Columbia Minister of Education Peter Fassbender speaks at the official opening of Goldstone Park Elementary School in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday April 24, 2014. Teachers began job action Wednesday after voting 89 percent in favour of giving their union - the B.C. Teachers' Federation - authority to take strike action in three stages. The BC Teachers Federation said it's being forced to take job action because of the slow pace of negotiations after its members' contract expired last June.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER - Talks between the B.C. government and the province's unionized teachers are stalled one day after limited job action began.

Peter Cameron, chief negotiator for the employers association, says the BC Teachers' Federation isn't able to make any serious moves on the outstanding issues at the bargaining table.

He says if the stalemate continues, the province will have to respond to the teachers' Stage 1 job action with pressure of its own, but he didn't elaborate on what that would mean.

Wages, class size and composition are the major stumbling blocks between the government and the province's 41,000 teachers.

Job action began on Wednesday, with teachers refusing to supervise students outside the classroom or communicating in writing with administrators, which prompted about a dozen school districts to cancel recess.

Union president Jim Iker says the government and employer refuse to budge on a proposed 10-year contract, wages, and putting class size and composition matters back into the collective agreement.


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