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Teachers strike 'imminent', BCTF prez Jim Iker said

BC Teachers Federation president Jim Iker updated teachers and the public about the ongoing negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement, speaking at the Radisson Hotel Vancouver Airport in Richmond Monday morning. - Martin van den Hemel photo
BC Teachers Federation president Jim Iker updated teachers and the public about the ongoing negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement, speaking at the Radisson Hotel Vancouver Airport in Richmond Monday morning.
— image credit: Martin van den Hemel photo

A full-scale teachers strike is "imminent" B.C. Teachers Federation president Jim Iker said Monday morning at the Radisson Hotel Vancouver Airport, adding that the provincial government "squandered an opportunity to get our students back to school."

He said the teachers union presented an offer to the province on Friday, and didn't hear back from Victoria until 48 hours later, on Sunday night.

"It's such a shame," he said. "It's just so disappointing."

He said comments by Premier Christy Clark and Education Minister Peter Fassbender that the two sides worked 24/7 to reach a deal, was disingenuous.

In the latest offer presented Friday, the teachers union has asked for a five-year deal, with an eight per cent wage increase, and a $5,000 signing bonus.

"This puts us within one per cent of the government's proposal," Iker said.

Instead, the province reduced its offer from 7.25 per cent to seven per cent, Iker said.

On the issue of class size and composition, and special needs staffing levels, Iker said teachers proposed to put two new education funds in place, which would allow the province to allocate funding where it's needed most.

Iker said he will meet with his BCTF executive today to discuss the next step to take, including what will happen to summer school. An announcement could come later today, he said.

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