Teachers reach tentative deal after a year of negotiations

B.C. teachers have reached a tentative deal with their employer after working on an expired contract since June.

The announcement came late Thursday from the BC Public School Employers’ Assocation (BCPSEA) that a three-year deal, retroactive to July 1, 2019, had just been reached.

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“With the challenges, concerns, and priorities arising from the global COVID-19 pandemic, we are very pleased that both parties recognized the need to bring this round of bargaining to conclusion,” said Alan Chell, chair of the BCPSEA board of directors in a statement.

Negotiations have been ongoing for about a year with a mediator, David Shaub, in place since the fall.

There has been a mediator-imposed blackout for much of the fall and winter.

Teachers were asking for a significant pay increase to bring them closer in line with other provinces, saying this was needed to recruit and retain teachers.

Furthermore, teachers were worried about losing their class size and composition language – which was restored in 2016 after having been stripped from their contracts by the Liberal government in 2002.

The tentative contract covers working conditions and pay for 45,000 public school teachers in the province.

Details about the deal will be announced later, according to the provincial government.

The deal will have to be ratified by members of the BC Teachers’ Federation.

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