The B.C. Teachers Federation and the Public School Employers Association reached a last-minute deal on the evening of Friday, June 30, avoiding a potential September job action while ensuring that teachers were still eligible for a $4,000 one-time signing bonus. The deadline to sign was the end of the day.
The provinces 38,000 public school teachers still have to vote this fall to accept the five-year contract, which includes a 16 per cent pay hike over five years and other concessions, but the BCTF is confident that the negotiations were a success.
"Congratulations to members for their commitment, unity, and tremendous support for their bargaining team," said BCTF president Jinny Sims. "Together we have achieved significant gains for our profession."
This is the unions first negotiated settlement with the province in the more than 10 years since the NDP government imposed one contract on all public school teachers across the province. Previous contracts have had to be imposed by governments and the teachers legislated back to work.
The teachers were originally asking for a 24 per cent raise over three years, and later reduced it to 19 per cent. The PSEA countered with an offer for eight per cent over four years, which was later increased to 10 per cent.
In May, 85 per cent of teachers voted to strike if contract talks failed.
In addition to the pay hike, teachers also received other concessions from the province through the PSEA, including up to 90 minutes of prep time per week for elementary school teachers, higher rates for teachers on call, and enhanced portability of sick days and seniority between school districts.