SURREY – Teachers across B.C. should have received a collective $105 million in the mail last week as cheques were delivered to teachers’ homes.
The money, labelled by some media as a "strike bonus," comes from a grievance fund negotiated by the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation with the provincial government.
"Yes, it’s part of the collective bargaining and a part of the strike, but it’s not a strike bonus," said Richard Overgaard, media relations spokesperson for BCTF.
"It’s a pay-out related to the outstanding grievances around the court case."
The $105 million came as a lump sum from the provincial government and BCTF is allocating the funds to teachers individually based on days worked in 2013.
A full-time teacher would receive the maximum $2,800, while teachers who worked part-time or were TTOCs (teachers on call) would get less.
Of 41,000 teachers in the province, Surrey – the largest school district – is home to over 5,000.
"I think, for some members, they lost a lot of money in the strike, so they would have liked to see more come back," said Jennifer Wadge, president of the Surrey Teachers Association, noting that the largest pay-outs, after tax, will be just shy of $1,900. "But it was a very difficult bargain, I think there is a feeling of, ‘at least we got something.’ For the average full-time teacher, they lost five weeks of wages. That’s pretty significant."