Tough talk from minister as schools set to reopen

Education Minister George Abbott says the government will not back down from it’s zero, zero, zero mandate on teacher salary negotiations.

  • Sep. 1, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Education Minister George Abbott says the government will not back down from it’s zero, zero, zero mandate on teacher salary negotiations.

During annual back to school conference calls Tuesday, the minister said he feels the hardline his government has drawn on public sector raises is a functional reality of the global economic state and not a position taxpayers can afford for the government to back down on.

“We didn’t cause the subprime mortgage crisis,” said Abbott.

“(So) there is no question in my mind, and certainly in the government’s mind, that the net zero mandate…will also be extended to teachers.”

Abbott said he was surprised to find that 90 per cent of the Ministry of Education’s budget already goes to teacher and support staff wages when he took over as education minister.

He said the province is struggling with deficit challenges and does not have the money to budge in this regard.

He then noted that in 2006 the government was able to authorize a 12 per cent wage increase and significant signing bonus.

The comments were made in press conferences geared toward the back-to-school period, which will see teachers pulling basic administrative services in an attempt to force the contract negations along.

On Wednesday, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation reiterated it is still pursuing a wage increase, contending B.C. teachers’ salaries have fallen behind colleagues in other provinces and the profession has not seen an increase in benefits in 15 years.

The union has been clear they are looking for funding increases that will help teachers in the classroom as well, having won a Supreme Court ruling this spring that found the Liberal government did not have the right to remove bargaining on class size and composition from the teachers’ contract in 2002.

Barring a last minute deal, teachers will begin basic job action on the first week of school, pulling administrative services like writing report cards and attending meetings.

“Teachers’ attention will be totally focused on the students in their classrooms and not on the many bureaucratic and administrative tasks that take away from the joy of teaching and learning,” said Lambert.



Just Posted

Stargate armour debuts at Kelowna expo

The Kelowna Fan Experience will feature Jaffa armour from Stargate SG-1

Okanagan athletes among those celebrated with Aboriginal awards

Premier’s Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport handed out

Okanagan makes Top 5 of least affordable home markets list

The Okanagan is the fourth least affordable place in Canada to buy property on a single income

Kelowna summit will connect employers and immigrants

A session will be held tomorrow from 12 to 3 p.m. at the downtown library

Suspected overdose, poisoning calls jump in Okanagan

BCEHS statistics show calls rose last year in Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

Americans blank Rockets in playoff opener

Patrick Dea stops all 39 shots to lead Tri-City to victory in Game 1 in Kelowna

Canucks find scoring touch in 5-2 win over Blackhawks

Four Vancouver skaters have two points apiece in victory over Chicago

Kamloops landlord dealing with aftermath of firebombing

Kamloops landlord claims tenant to be a nightmare

‘Not well thought out:’ Arizona family slams B.C. speculation tax

American family spends half the year in vacation home on Vancouver Island

Family of B.C. wildfire victim wants better emergency preparedness for vulnerable people

Williams Lake’s David Jeff “fell through the cracks”

Senate backs bill to legalize recreational marijuana

Justin Trudeau reminded senators that his government was elected on a promise to legalize pot

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Most Read