About 41,000 British Columbia teachers could be striking at the end of June if the provincial government doesn’t lift its wage freeze for the public sector.
The two parties only began talking about the new contract on March 1, but it’s clear that the British Columbia Teachers Federation (BCTF) will be demanding a significant wage increase.
"We're asking government to revisit their mandate to ensure that this round of bargaining is productive and there's a satisfactory conclusion," BCTF president Susan Lambert said in a press conference earlier this week. The B.C. Liberal government imposed the netzero mandate for public servants as a result of the economic downturn.
Education minister George Abbot spoke at the BCTF annual conference on Tuesday where he made it clear that his government would not budge in regards to the mandate.
“That doesn’t mean we can’t talk about improving the learning environment or teacher satisfaction,” he said to the crowd, “but net zero is the order of the day.”
Negotiators for the BCTF and the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association will meet again on March 31 to resume bargaining sessions.
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