TEACHERS aren't impressed with a plan unveiled by B.C. Premier Christy Clark and Education Minister Don McRae that the government says is aimed at creating a 10-year contract and getting rid of labour disruptions in the classroom.
"I don't take it seriously at this point," said Rob Millard, president of the West Vancouver Teachers Association, who said the announcement felt more like a "pre-election stunt" than a genuine effort to solve problems.
"I don't know of any other public sectors that have a 10-year contract," he said. Millard added he doesn't think teachers will be happy with a plan that takes away their ability to bargain for wage increases. "We have the right to do that," he said. "Why would we give that up? I think it's a bad idea."
The province proposed the contract Friday, offering to put a 10-year deal in place for teachers, whose current contract is up in June. The deal would index teachers' salary increases to the average of other major public sector increases in the province. Education Minister Don McRae said in a statement if that plan was in place, teachers would have received a bigger salary increase over the past 10 years than they actually got.
In return for the 10-year deal, the province said teachers would get a role in education policy decisions and a say in the allocation of a $100-million "education investment fund."
The B.C. Teachers Federation slammed the government's proposal, saying under the scheme "government has all the cards."
The union also said the deal would take away teachers' rights to bargain class size and composition - a point disputed by McRae.
Millard said it was strange that the government announced its proposal when teachers and their public school employers are just sitting down to start the next round of bargaining and appear to have been making progress.