New proposals coming in teacher talks

Education Minister Peter Fassbender expects "new concepts" from both sides in long-running labour dispute this week

Education Minister Peter Fassbender

Education Minister Peter Fassbender

Negotiators for the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and school districts are meeting Friday for the first time since schools were shuttered by a strike in late June, and Education Minister Peter Fassbender expects new proposals from both sides.

Fassbender said Tuesday it’s the first meeting of full bargaining teams in more than a month, and the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association has some “new concepts” to bring to the discussion.

“We’ve already demonstrated our willingness to move on some key elements,” he said. “We need to see the same from the BCTF. They’ve indicated they’re willing to do that.”

He wouldn’t comment on the new proposals, except to reiterate that the BCTF’s position on benefits and other compensation is not in the “affordability zone” established by other public sector union agreements.

If the strike shuts schools again in September, the government plans to use the savings to compensate parents $40 a day for each child under 13 in public school, to assist with daycare or tutoring costs. Fassbender said there would be no conditions attached to the payout.

“My hope is that there isn’t a nickel available as of September, because schools are operating, teachers are back in the classroom, students are there and there is no further disruption,” he said.

The B.C. School Trustees’ Association has urged the government to direct its $12 million a day in payroll savings from the strike to a fund to address class size and special needs support.

Trustees have also called on the union to moderate its benefit demands, which include parental leave, dental benefits, massage therapy and increased preparation time for elementary school teachers.

BCPSEA has offered $375 million over a six-year contract term to provide extra classroom support, and specified class size limits in the teacher contract, to address key issues in a series of court disputes.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

International Women’s Day is March 8. (Internationalwomensday.com)
International Women’s Day 2021: #choosetochallenge

International Women’s Day is marked annually on March 8

Celebrate women in leadership, March 8, International Women’s Day 2021 (Unsplash)
EDITORIAL: International Women’s Day 2021 shines spotlight on achievements, ongoing inequities

COVID-19 increased gender-based violence, economic stress, the burden of care giving for women

Amarjit Khakh of Williams Lake. (Photo submitted)
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2021: Amarjit Khakh

Kindness and giving, key to full life

Sierra William (left) with her grandmother Eileen William. (Roger William photo)
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2021: Sierra William

Xeni Gwet’in woman finds strength in tradition

Cynthia English (Photo submitted)
INTERNATIONL WOMEN’S DAY 2021: Cynthia English

Cynthia English, 30, has been working in the logging industry for several years

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Most Read