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Yesterday the BC Teachers’ Federation concluded an agreement-in-committee with the provincial government. However, today the teachers of BC are continuing their resistance to Bill 22 and its violations of their collective bargaining rights.

The agreement came about only after a long and difficult round of negotiations which were supported by teachers’ Phase One limited job action from September to March, a three-day full-scale walkout, a province-wide action plan including withdrawal of extra-curricular activities, and numerous actions before the Labour Relations Board.

BCTF President Susan Lambert noted that the agreement provides some modest improvements in terms of teachers’ benefits, which were extremely outdated, and in some leave provisions.

However, the agreement fails to provide improvements to class size and composition or salaries, and teachers’ labour rights continue to be trampled by Bill 22.

For that reason, the BCTF is today filing notice of civil claim in BC Supreme Court regarding Bill 22.  In its claim, the Federation asserts:

1. that government, by prohibiting BCPSEA from agreeing to any increase in compensation or benefits for teachers, or from agreeing to any restrictions on the exercise of management rights, unconstitutionally infringed teachers’ Charter protected right to free collective bargaining.

2.that government’s directions to BCPSEA resulted in bad faith bargaining.

3. that Bill 22, the Education Improvement Act, infringed teachers’ Charter-protected right to collective bargaining, by reinstating the legislation which the BC Supreme Court has previously held to be constitutionally invalid and which prevents teachers from bargaining important matters such as class size, class composition, and staffing levels.  The legislation continues the deletion of hundreds of provisions of the collective agreement, which were freely bargained by the parties, and which provided significant benefit to teachers and students.

4.that the government passed regulations which provide compensation to teachers without engaging in collective bargaining on this benefit, and despite directing BCPSEA that it could not bargain compensation with teachers.

5. that the government has failed to establish a fair dispute resolution mechanism, and instead has unconstitutionally legislated that government will unilaterally determine the content of the collective agreement.  

 

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For more information, contact Nancy Knickerbocker, BCTF media relations officer, at 604-871-1881 (office) or 604-340-1959 (cell).

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