FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – B.C. Teachers’ Federation President, Teri Mooring, was in Fort St. John on Saturday, September 7, as part of a northern tour to discuss with local Teacher Associations about the on-going negotiations.
Mooring says the Federation had negotiated with the Province during the summer and were hoping to get a deal before the school year but were unable to do so as the mediator made the decision to recess talks in order for both sides to consider their positions before resuming talks on September 23.
“We negotiated for 14 days in the summer and we were really hoping to get a deal before school started… unfortunately, we weren’t able to do that and the mediator decided that at the end of August, we were wanting to bargain the long weekend of September, he determined that it wasn’t likely we would get a deal in that time and so he recessed talks and asked both parties to consider their positions and then meet back on September 23.”
According to Mooring, the biggest concern the BCTF is currently facing is teacher recruitment and retention, along with finding qualified teachers to fill positions.
Mooring says the problem is not unique to Fort St. John but is Province-wide and is due to the low incentive that is being offered to prospective teachers.
The B.C.’s teaching salary, according to Mooring, is the second-lowest in Canada, and the lowest when compared to the other Western Provinces.
Mooring says the Federation will continue to bargain for improvements to the salary, negotiate a labour market adjustment, and improve student learning conditions.