A very quick and thoroughly unscientific poll conducted on Monday showed public response to the BCTF’s new contract offer to be skeptical, at best.
Some called it transparent at best. You make an overblown demand and then a few days later appear to be giving in.
Just so the numbers are clear the BCTF initially wanted 8 per cent in each of the three years of the contact and a 10 per cent “market adjustment” in the first year. The new offer is 6, 6 and 4 per cent over the three years and a six per cent “market adjustment” and it is made we are told to spur further negotiations.
That’s not exactly what we would call caving in. It’s still not even realistic.
The BCTF maintains that higher salaries are essential to attracting and retaining enough of the right people to the profession.
Haven’t we heard that somewhere before?
If the BCTF is successful in securing its latest contract offer you just might see some nurses gazing over at the greener grass across the fence.
There was, however, one bright spot in the new offer.The BCTF abandoned king’s ransom -like demand to have the salary grid compressed from 10 or 12 years to four. This alone would have bankrupted the employere.
It has been written in this space that the teachers need to be well paid, perhaps already are, and they deserve a raise. They, on the other hand, need to display some sensitivity for the economic climate. Not so long ago the BCGEU was given a 0, 0 and 2 contract and are now looking at massive cuts and/or privatization. As the province tries to stop the proverbial bleeding, why should teachers be exempt?
The employer is offering 7.5 per cent over three years. Perhaps the BCTF should accept eight or nine. Even that meagre raise would make their Christmas stockings more full than just about anybody else’s this year.
With that resolved the teachers could get back to providing students and parents with full-service teaching. Which is what they say it’s all about in the first place.
While the un-strike, their term, has been billed as having little effect on students, the reality must be far from that. The BCTF’s list of things their members will not do is 31 items long. The students that have been affected and will continue to suffer are those on the academic bubble. Those whom for which this is a critical make or break time in their education. There will be no report cards, no consultation with parents outside of class time or during class time if no coverage is provided. In essence the lines of communication that are essential to save a student on the edge are severed.
Those students are affected. Dramatically, perhaps irreversibly.