B.C. teachers have voted strongly in favour of ending their strike and returning to work next week.
B.C. Teachers’ Federation members voted 86 per cent in favour of a six-year agreement negotiated with the help of mediator Vince Ready this week. About three out of four of the province’s 40,000 teachers voted.
“I’m happy with this deal,” said BCTF president Jim Iker. It gives the province’s teachers raises totalling 7.25 per cent over six years, improvements to benefits and a fund to hire hundreds of new teachers each year.
Iker said the turnout for the vote was higher than the union’s last two ratification votes.
Education Minister Peter Fassbender congratulated teachers on the settlement, which ends a bitter strike that shut schools for two weeks in June and another three weeks this fall.
“We can now focus on the path forward,” Fassbender said. “This long-term agreement is an historic opportunity to work together for students – to enhance their education experience and to support their achievements.”
Premier Christy Clark added her thanks on Twitter.
“This is a fair, affordable deal that will let us focus on putting students first,” Clark said.
Iker said most school districts will reopen Monday, and the ministry has notified superintendents that the school year will not be extended to make up the days lost to the strike.
The finance ministry is preparing to send out compensation of $40 per lost student day to parents of students up to age 12. One-time payments are expected to be sent out in October to eligible parents who registered at bcparentinfo.ca.