Tentative deal between B.C. Teachers’ Federation and province

According to B.C. Education Minister George Abbott and the B.C. Teachers' Federation a tentative one-year deal has been struck.

The Province of B.C., has a tentative memorandum of settlement between the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF).

“We are pleased that mediation has resulted in a tentative Memorandum of Settlement between the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association and the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation,” Minister of Education George Abbott said in a statement.

“The term of the agreement runs until June 30, 2013, sets out improved language to manage leave provisions, and is consistent with government’s net zero mandate. In addition, the parties agreed to further discuss and seek mutually agreeable improvements on key policy issues to provide students with the best education possible.

“In the days ahead, BCPSEA and the BCTF will communicate further information to their members about the agreement and next steps with respect to ratification,” Abbott went on to say.

The BCTF said in a statement that it was recommending ratification of the deal.

“After a long and difficult round of negotiations, we were compelled into this process under threat of huge fines and further punitive legislation,” said BCTF President Susan Lambert in the statement.

“We have been able to achieve some modest improvements but, above all, we succeeded in getting government take its concession demands off the table,” Lambert said, adding that no other public sector union was subject to such an attack on due process and fair treatment.”

Locally, Boundary District Teachers’ Association President Norm Sabourin said that ratification could come by the end of the week.

“Wednesday to Friday, teachers will be looking to ratify,” Sabourin told the Grand Forks Gazette.

“The contract strips are gone and no increase of salary and we’re looking at some improvements to benefits so basically the deal is that the projected contract stripping is off the table and we have some improvements to benefits and the rest pretty much stayed the same.”

If the deal were to be ratified, Sabourin said that teachers and the province would begin negotiations again in March 2013.