Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Peter Cameron, chief negotiator for the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association.

Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

The B.C. Liberals are threatening to cut teachers' wages by five per cent and offering a $1,200 bonus to each teacher in a bid to pressure the union into signing a new deal by the end of the school year.

Peter Cameron, the government's chief negotiator, says the wage rollback could go up to 10 per cent if teachers ramp up their job action.

The province's 41,000 teachers are currently in the midst of low-level job action, including ceasing written communication with administrators and not supervising students outside the classroom. That could escalate to rotating strikes.

Story continues below advertisement

Cameron says the government does not need the approval of the Labour Relations Board to cut teachers' wages.

Jim Iker, president of the B.C. Teachers' Federation, took issue with the $1,200 signing bonus that the government has promised to each full-time teacher if an agreement is reached by the end of June. Iker says that money should be put towards salary raises instead.

"When you look at the numbers, it would make more sense to put that money on our salary grids," Iker said during a news conference Friday. "That would bring the two sides closer together."

Currently, the BCTF is asking for a 15.9 per cent pay raise over four years. Iker says the government has proposed an increase of 6.5 per cent over six years.

But in spite of this disparity, Iker says he remains optimistic that the two sides can reach a deal by the end of next month.

"I'm hopeful," Iker said. "We want a deal by the end of June, and that's what we're going to work towards … There need to be compromises made, and we're willing to make those compromises. But we need government to bring some reasonable offers to the table in terms of salary, class size and class composition."

On Thursday the government withdrew its demands for a 10-year deal with the teachers' union, proposing a six-year agreement instead. The BCTF has said it wants a four-year deal.

Story continues below advertisement

Apart from contract length, a main point of contention in the negotiations relates to staffing levels and class sizes. A court ruling earlier this year ordered the government to reinstate staffing levels and class sizes to 2002 levels, which the government claims would cost as much as $1-billion. The BCTF lost its right to set these levels in 2002, under a previous Liberal government.

The next set of meetings between the two sides are scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies