UPDATE, 1:12 p.m.
Sources close to the negotiations have told The Globe and Mail that teachers will be asked to vote on a six-year deal that includes total wage hikes of 7.25 per cent, which is similar to the offer that the government’s negotiators put on the table in June, and they will not collect the $1,200 signing bonus that was on the table at that time – that offer expired on June 30.
However the government is putting roughly $100-million into a fund that the union can distribute to its members to address the grievances from the 2002 law that stripped the contract of language on class size and composition.
The main victory for the union is that the government is creating a new education fund that will be used exclusively for members of the BCTF to address issues of class size and composition – the number of special needs students in each classroom. The government had offered to put more money into special needs supports, but had initially planned to share that investment with other educators such as educational assistants who are not part of the BCTF.
— BCTF (@bctf) September 16, 2014
Veteran mediator Vince Ready, who emerged from the Richmond, B.C., hotel early Tuesday morning after another marathon negotiation session, had this to say: “After all these hours I’m very pleased to announced the parties have reached a tentative agreement. I’m not at liberty to release any of the details, nor are the parties. The parties are going to meet later this morning and finalize a few of the outstanding details, but generally speaking there has been a tentative agreement initialed by the parties.”
A ratification vote is expected on Thursday, according to BCTF spokeswoman Nancy Knickerbocker.
So when might schools officially open again? Vancouver School Board chair Patti Bacchus predicts it will take several days — after the vote — for things to get back to normal: “There is a lot of work and classroom/timetable organization that normally would have started at the end of June and been completed by now,” she said in an email.
“I know principals and VPs have being doing as much of that as they can and I understand the expectation is that we would open within a day or two of an agreement being in place (may require ratification etc). That could be part of the ongoing negotiations as well.
“However it unfolds, it will certainly take several days to get things settled to the point they would normally be at this time of year.”
Here’s our latest news story with developments in the deal to end the strike.
With a report from Justine Hunter in Victoria