Monday, April 7, 2014

New elements introduced to Provincial Education negotiations last week

North Coast parents haven't heard much about the recent round of negotiations between the province's teachers and their employers, the discussions on the labour issues at hand still a fairly low profile item for the media of the Northwest.

Still, there have been some interesting developments in those negotiations, with the Government negotiator and the BCTF exchanging notes and opinions on the current state of discussion from the last few weeks.

Among some of the key points from last the sessions of last week, the Government seemingly putting the BCTF on notice, that if they move ahead with any strike plans, then the onus will be on their membership to pick up the tab on health and welfare benefits during any work stoppage.

Student safety also became a major discussion point during the last week, with the negotiator on the Government's side raising the issue, one which the BCTF has taken to the Labour Relations Board, seeking an essential services designation, a process that has been used in the past when that issue was brought up.

On the topic of wages, the two sides however still seem as far apart as they were prior to the BCFT strike mandate of February, with little progress reported on narrowing that gap.

The overall theme of the last week, appears to suggest that while the two sides are still talking, which is a positive thing, any progress on major issues such as wages and class composition seems to be glacial at best.

From all of that, there has still been no announcement of any work related plans from the BCTF for the weeks ahead and more sessions for the two sides are planned at the negotiation table.

Some background on where we're all at can be found from some of the reviews of the last week's sessions.

BCCPAC-  Bargaining Blues, but full-scale teacher strike not expected soon
Globe and Mail-- Job action preparation between teachers' union and government intensifies with safety accusations
Victoria Times Colonist-- 5 million dollar tactic puts pressure on teachers
CKWX-- Teachers and the province no closer to reaching agreement
Vancouver Province-- Government negotiator seeks student safety agreement with teachers union

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