|Education Minister Peter Fassbender and BCTFf Pres Jim Iker|
If as I am led to believe, wages are not the primary objective but of more crucial concern are class sizes and composition, then teachers need to tell their representatives to bring the salary demand more in line with the government offer. Negotiation logic expects that the government then will be more inclined to address class size and composition demands.
The most recent ask by the union is for a pay hike of 9.75 per cent over four years, not including the cost-of-living allowance that compensates for inflation. That reflects an increase of 3 per cent in the first year, followed by 2.25 per cent each year over the following three years. So while 9.75% doesn’t sound like much, the impact is larger of course because of the unexpressed cost of living compensation. When the government reads that demand it says the compounded numbers come to a total increase of 14.7%. That doesn’t appear to be a great improvement over the earlier 15.9% BCTF demand.
The B.C. Public School Employers Association (the government’s bargaining vehicle) earlier offered 7.3% over six years. That’s a presumptuous offer too, representing no salary increase apart from bare cost of living increases.
I believe that if BCTF made a request for 10% over four years and that includes COLA, as well as the class size and composition proviso, there would be a deal. That demonstrates to government a noteworthy willingness to compromise and it underscores that the primary issues are class size and composition each of which speaks to parents about the desire to provide superior education to children.