No ‘showdown’ with teachers, minister says

Bargaining change allows direct talks with teachers, restores full right to strike, goal is 10-year deal

Education Minister Peter Fassbender

The B.C. government is pressing ahead with its goal of a 10-year agreement with B.C. teachers, appointing a “public administrator” to replace school trustees on the board of their provincial bargaining agency.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender said the change is temporary, and the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association will continue to play an important role in talks with teachers and support staff. BCPSEA will be under the direction of Michael Marchbank, CEO of the Hospital Employers’ Association, when talks with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation resume in September.

Fassbender’s announcement surprised school trustees around the province. He said he spoke to or left messages for trustees on the BCPSEA executive before making the announcement in Vancouver Wednesday.

The move is to meet a demand of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation to bargain directly with the B.C. government, Fassbender said. The government also intends to eliminate essential services rules that keep schools open with minimum staff during strikes.

Fassbender denied the suggestion he is setting up a “showdown” with teachers that would shut down schools and turn the public against unions. The structural change is needed to achieve the stability for students and parents promised by Premier Christy Clark, he said.

“It’s not about pitting them against us,” Fassbender said. “It’s about finding a new road map where we can achieve that goal.”

A two-year contract extension and wage freeze imposed by the government on teachers expired at the end of June. Jim Iker, who took over this spring as BCTF president, told CKNW radio Thursday his union isn’t opposed to a long-term settlement, as long as more resources are there to improve classroom conditions.

The BCTF is returning to court this fall to seek restoration of bargaining for class size and special needs support.

School support staff represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees are to resume negotiations for a new contract this month, after walking away last spring because their negotiators didn’t believe BCPSEA had an adequate mandate to get a settlement.

CUPE employees have not had a raise in four years.

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

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

Just Posted

Recharged Sharks aim for playoffs after ‘well-earned’ break

Bayside rugby club mixes youth with returning veterans in quest for men’s Div. 1 title

Pedestrian fatality in Surrey

Police are investigating at 183 Street and Highway 10

Spring is looming – what are you most looking forward to?

Spring is looming – what are you most looking forward to?… Continue reading

New ‘Run Surrey Run’ event on downtown city streets this spring

Organizers of 5K/10K event want to avoid traffic disruptions caused by marathon in 2012-13

Police watchdog seeking witnesses to Surrey arrest

It happened in a McDonald’s parking lot in Guildford on Jan. 18, at 152nd Street and 102A Avenue, at about 1 a.m.

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Registration opens soon for BC 55+ Games in Richmond

2020 55+ Games have been officially scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants make it nine straight

Roman scores hat trick as team dominates Seattle

Homicide team investigating after body found in Abbotsford

Resident finds deceased person on Keeping Road on Sumas Mountain

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Murder of sex worker exposes Canada’s hypocrisy on prostitution: advocate

A 2014 law made purchasing sex or benefiting from the selling of sex illegal

Wet’suwet’en return to northern B.C. forest road pipeline workers move through: First Nation

Opponents of a pipeline who support the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have reoccupied camps at centre of arrests

Most Read