The province’s 40,000 plus public teachers will take a strike vote on March 4 to 6 after over a year of negotiations with government that have gone nowhere.
In a press conference held at the BC Teachers’ Federation Vancouver headquarters this morning, President Jim Iker said negotiations with the BC Public School Employers Association (BCPSEA) went downhill last summer when government removed BCPSEA’s board and replaced it with Peter Cameron as director and negotiator.
“Up until this point, the 10-year deal was only a media sound bite,” Iker said, recalling Premier Christy Clark and Education Minister Peter Fassbender’s vocal support for a 10-year negotiated contract with teachers.
That summer the union held a membership vote on the prospect of a 10-year deal, and 96 per cent of teachers voted against it. But that fall the government tabled a 10-year deal anyway.
“Since the fall, Christy Clark’s government, through their appointed leaders at BCPSEA, is again trying to strip teachers working conditions and freeze wages,” said Iker.
“They propose nothing that teachers can agree to: not a single incentive for any deal, never mind a longer term deal. Every meeting we’ve had since December has seen the parties drive further and further apart as the government goes after unreasonable concessions.”