BC teachers have voted overwhelmingly in support of a new deal with the province.
“With 21,156 BC Teachers’ Federation members participating, 98.4% voted in favour of ratifying the agreement to implement their restored collective agreement language,” says a BCTF release.
“The agreement will see all the substantive working conditions that were unconstitutionally stripped from teachers’ collective agreements restored.”
BCTF President Glen Hansman says BC schools are finally on the verge of having better working and learning conditions back in place.
“With our restored language in effect, BC schools, students, and teachers will see significant improvements in class sizes, support levels for children with special needs, and access to specialist teachers this September.
Photo: Glen Hansman, BC Teachers’ Federation president
Hansman said the focus will now shift to the collective agreement-based school staffing processes that will begin later this month as well as holding the government accountable for its commitment to fully fund all the costs.
Education Minister Mike Bernier is pleased with the outcome of the vote.
“The parties had to deal with some very complex issues. The challenge was how to restore nearly 1,400 old clauses across 60 different collective agreements within the context of an education system that evolved dramatically over the past 15 years.”
Bernier says the system today has far more choice and flexibility for students and parents.
“A key objective was to protect equitable access to learning and build on the significant gains that students have enjoyed. The parties agreed to make the old language work to the extent we can and to continue the dialogue until the next round of bargaining where we can pursue longer-term solutions.”
Bernier says teachers will see reduced workloads and will be welcoming thousands of new colleagues into the system over the coming months. And students will benefit from knowing that they have access to the same learning opportunities as before.