Proposed teacher’s contract brings relief, frustration

Greater Victoria teachers' union leader opposes deal

While some Greater Victoria board of education trustees are breathing a sigh of relief over the tentative collective agreement reached between B.C. teachers and the province on Tuesday, others, such as the president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, are speaking out against the deal.

Despite a recommendation of acceptance from the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation, GVTA president Tara Ehrcke isn’t voting in support of the agreement with the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association.

“I think (the BCTF) was concerned that the government was planning on legislating the concessions they had on the table and it was nervousness of that impending legislation that probably led to the agreement,” Ehrcke said, noting her decision to vote contrary to the BCTF doesn’t reflect a broader decision made by the GVTA.

“This agreement doesn’t solve any of the issues … around classroom conditions and reasonable wage increases,” Ehrcke said.

During the last contract negotiations in 2005, the GVTA did not make a vote recommendation to its members. The outcome of the teachers’ vote on the deal is expected by next Wednesday.

BCPSEA chair Melanie Joy said the tentative agreement standardizes provincial language for the number of leaves and establishes a process for determining local and provincial issues.

Acceptance of the agreement will allow schools to resume classes next fall with teachers resuming extra-curricular activities and meetings with school administration.

Saanich and Sooke teachers’ association presidents, while unwilling to divulge personal votes, conveyed a sense of relief over the agreement.

“It caught me a bit off guard,” said Sean Hayes, president of the Saanich Teachers’ Association. “I think it caught a lot of us off guard. By any indication, things weren’t going too well. The fact that we have something to vote on is a good thing.”

Helming the Sooke Teachers’ Association, Patrick Henry is welcoming the tentative agreement as a potential break in the battle between both sides – one he said is mired in media coverage of the province’s net zero wage mandate and BCTF salary and benefit requests.

“It’s a bittersweet thing,” Henry said. “No one wants to prolong this any longer, anyway.”

Greater Victoria Board of Education chairperson Peg Orcherton is similarly relieved over what she sees as a very positive sign for the relationship between teachers and the province.

“It was a surprise – a happy surprise,” she said. “I’m hoping this opportunity will give everyone a chance to step back from the brink and collect their breath and their thoughts.”

Orcherton is hopeful more progress will be made through the fall, including more definition of the split between provincial versus local bargaining issues.

Michael McEvoy, president of the B.C. School Trustees’ Association called the tentative agreement a small step in the right direction.

“Over the last number of months, it’s been very, very difficult and we’re just very pleased that the parties have resolved and worked so hard to reach a resolution,” McEvoy said. “There are a lot of issues that are off the table and not a part of the resolution here, but that’s a part of collective bargaining. You don’t get everything that you want.”

Less than 24 hours following the announcement of the tentative agreement, the BCTF issued notice of a civil claim in B.C. Supreme Court against the province.

The claim, the second made by the union in the last 10 days, is formed on the basis that Bill 22 unconstitutionally infringed teachers’ right to free collective bargaining and asserts that government’s directions to BCPSEA resulted in bad faith bargaining.

-with files from Tom Fletcher

nnorth@saanichnews.ca

 

 

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

Just Posted

Alice Munro among Nobel Prize winners urging Trudeau to deny oilsands project

Alberta premier says Teck’s Frontier mine would create 7,500 jobs, $70 billion in government revenue

Salmon fishing closures won’t save the whales, say critics

Federal government accused of going after salmon fishery as ‘low hanging fruit’

Unrelated occupancy limits creating divisions in Saanich

Gordon Head Residents’ Association wants to see conditions to hold landlords accountable

Oak Bay cyclist runner-up in Spanish stage race

Adam de Vos on podium amongst World Tour best in Spain

Greater Victoria has Canada’s sixth-highest ‘moving penalty’

Disparity between vacant/occupied units incentivizes renovictions and reduces mobility, researcher says

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

UPDATE: Lockdown lifted at Nanaimo high school following threats

Nearby elementary school was in hold-and-secure

Wolverines face elimination game at Island finals

Sooke squad lost to Nanaimo’s John Barsby last night

Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Prime minister says situation in Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute is ‘unacceptable and untenable’

RCMP clarifies stance on removing officers from Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C.

Police say will remove officers only if hereditary chiefs keep road open to pipeline workers

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Suspect at large after stealing seaplane before crashing into another in Vancouver

Police responded to the incident at 3:30 a.m. on Friday at Vancouver Harbour

Most Read