VICTORIA – Education Minister Peter Fassbender released the following statement on the status of bargaining with the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF):
“The bargaining teams worked hard through the weekend and progress was made.
“On Sunday, the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) tabled a comprehensive proposal to help end the stalemate, get kids back in school and create long-term stability for parents, students and teachers.
“BCPSEA’s package included an improved wage offer and realistic and flexible solutions to address class composition. It’s fully in line with other agreements we’ve reached with public-sector workers and it’s about as good as we can hope to get it.
“When negotiations adjourned late Sunday night, it was BCPSEA’s expectation that talks would continue Monday. BCPSEA reached out to the BCTF and just minutes ago [Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm] they responded they’d be back to bargaining later this afternoon.
“I believe that both parties want this dispute resolved. If the BCTF wants to get a deal done they need to get back to bargaining and put all their cards on the table. While they’ve moved on their wage demands, they have not provided clear answers on what other cost items are still on the table. After 16 months, the BCTF is still pushing proposals that literally have blanks in them where there should be dollar figures.
“Students have been turned away from their classrooms and teachers are losing income. The BCTF owes it to everyone to fill in those blanks, table their full set of demands, and respond to the comprehensive settlement offer that BCPSEA has put on the table.
“BCPSEA has worked very hard to put together a settlement that is fair for teachers, fair for taxpayers, and fair to the 150,000 public-sector workers who’ve already reached agreements.
“As BCPSEA demonstrated last week and through the weekend, they are ready to bargain 24/7. We want to see an agreement by June 30 so everyone can head into the summer with this dispute behind us and the knowledge the system is on a path to long-term stability.”