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REPORTING · 18th September 2014
Walter McFarlane
On Tuesday, September 15th, the BC Public School Employers’ Association and the BC Teachers Federation reached a tentative agreement. On Thursday, September 17th, the teachers voted.

“Tonight, I’m pleased to announce the teachers have ratified in committee, what was reached on September 15th. A total of 31,741 of our members had cast ballots. In all, 27,275 member, or 86% voted yes. With the ratification of a new collective agreement, the strike and lock out are now over. Teachers and students will be back in school on Monday,” said BCTF President, Jim Iker.

Iker stated this was a tough round of negotiations and a difficult strike. He thanked the teachers for being strong. He said the people of BC now understand the issues around education. They will advocate for more support for students.

The deal provides gain for teachers, protects their rights and supports the students. There will be more specialist teachers in the schools, on call teachers will be paid fairly and members will get a salary increase.

He said the agreement does not include some of the things they need for their students and their members.

“Class size and composition is always an issue, it’s being dealt with in the courts and the court process is winding it’s way through and we will deal with the restoration of those limits at that point in time. We know the importance of having smaller class sizes for our kids, and having more specialist teachers in the classroom,” said Iker.

One of the items the teachers received was an annual education fund. Iker expressed the fund will be spent on teachers to work in classrooms. It could be for smaller class sizes and more specialist teachers. He also stated he hoped some of the money the government saved during the strike would go back into the education system.