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Tentative teachers' deal reached

THE POSSIBILITY of renewed battles between the province's public school teachers and the provincial government this fall appears to have ended with a tentative settlement reached last night.

The deal, which still must be ratified by teachers and school boards, is for two years, effective July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012.

"After almost 80 bargaining sessions and 16 sessions with mediator Dr. Charles Jago, public school employers have reached a tentative collective agreement with the BC Teachers' Federation," announced Melanie Joy, Chair of the BC Public School Employers' Association (BCPSEA).

Among the provisions, the tentative colllective agreement standardizes provincial language for a number of leaves, establishes a process for the local/provincial bargaining process, and renews a number of existing letters of understanding.

There's no immediate word on what kind of wage component has been negotiated.

One of the major sticking points between teachers and the province was the latter's insistence that there be no wage increases.

Education minister George Abbott, in a statement, said the tentative deal "is consistent with government's net zero mandate."

Teachers began the school year just ended by refusing a number of duties, including the preparation of report cards and supervising students on school grounds.

That escalated into a three-day strike this spring and the passage of back to work legislation by the provincial government.

"We will be communicating the details of the proposed agreement to our members — the province's public boards of education — and engaging in the necessary discussion with them prior to the ratification vote," said Joy. "Further information about the agreement will be available after both parties have held their ratification votes, which we anticipate will be completed by Wednesday, July 4, 2012."

"This has been a difficult year for all those involved with the public school system," Joy said. "We hope that boards and teachers will ratify this agreement and that we can all look forward to the new school year in September with a focus on what's really important — delivering the best possible educational experience for our students."

BCPSEA is the accredited bargaining agent for the province's 60 public boards of education.

 

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