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The BC Teachers’ Federation is deeply distressed that
the government has flatly refused to consider any proposal to remedy the
unconstitutionality of Bills 27/28 that would include contractual guarantees
for quality teaching and learning conditions.
proposals based on restoring the working and learning conditions that were in
place prior to 2002, when these illegal bills were imposed. We have also
demonstrated considerable flexibility and willingness to consider
alternatives,” said BCTF President Susan Lambert.
government’s representatives told the BCTF they simply will not respond to
anything that includes guarantees on class size and composition.
Liberals believe teachers’ rights to bargain and students’ rights to quality
classroom conditions must be sacrificed to management’s right to reduce thousands
of teaching positions in BC,” Lambert said.
In April 2011,
the BC Supreme Court ruled that Bills 27/28 were unconstitutional because they
violated teachers’ Charter rights to bargain collectively, specifically with
regard to class size and composition. The court gave the government one year to
deal with the repercussions of the case. The bills were imposed by
then-Education Minister Christy Clark in 2002.
that after the legislation was found to be in violation of the Charter, the
government would repeal it and the collective bargaining rights and language
would be restored. However, government’s position has been that their right to
impose policy directions and enforce managerial control is paramount, no matter
whether teachers’ proposals were affordable.
representative Paul Straszak, CEO of the Public Sector Employers’ Council, told
the BCTF: “This is not about the affordability, it’s about the flexibility to
assign the resources.... Your proposal restricts management rights in a way
we’re not prepared to accept.”
said: “We have invested seven months in these fruitless discussions, and
meanwhile another round of collective bargaining is going on with teachers’
rights still being violated. Furthermore, we’ve got thousands of oversized
classes, support for students with special needs cut, and children struggling
to have their needs met in an underfunded school system.
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For more information, contact Nancy Knickerbocker, BCTF media relations officer, at 604-871-1881 (office) or 604-340-1959 (cell).