One month ago, Education Minister George Abbott announced that government would not appeal the BC Supreme Court ruling on Bills 27 and 28. He appointed Paul Straszak, president and CEO of the Public Sector Employers’ Council, to engage with the BCTF on its repercussions.
On Friday afternoon, BCTF representatives will go into their second meeting with Straszuk, at which time they will reiterate their expectations for implementation of the court ruling to restore at least $275 million a year (in 2002 dollars) in funding cuts that were enabled by the unconstitutional legislation. This investment of funding would allow restoration of class-size and composition guarantees and restoration of services to students with special needs, according to BC Teachers’ Federation President Susan Lambert.
“We expect government will honour the ruling and work with us to reverse the funding cuts, restore services to students, respect teachers’ bargaining rights, and reinstate collective agreement language. Anything less would demonstrate disrespect for the court, in our view,” Lambert said.
In terms of the specific remedies being sought, last week the BCTF’s Representative Assembly passed motions stating:
- That the remedy for the Bills 27/28 include the necessary new funding to restore and improve services to students, government acknowledgment of all language illegally removed from the collective agreement, and the right to full collective bargaining rights, including the right to negotiate working and learning conditions and hours of work.
- That any settlement to the Bills 27/28 case be subject to ratification by members.
- That the Federation not seek remedies for individuals with respect to the Bills 27/28 ruling.
“Throughout the court case and now in the remedy process, teachers have fought for our rights and those of our students. Our goal is to improve learning conditions for all students and thereby to improve the quality of public education across BC,” Lambert said.