Despite a new collective bargaining agreement not being in place between B.C. teachers and the Ministry of Education at the start of the 2019-20 school year, school is on for students in Nanaimo, including those at Dover Bay Secondary School. (News Bulletin file)

Despite a new collective bargaining agreement not being in place between B.C. teachers and the Ministry of Education at the start of the 2019-20 school year, school is on for students in Nanaimo, including those at Dover Bay Secondary School. (News Bulletin file)

School starts in Nanaimo-Ladysmith despite no deal for teachers

B.C. teachers, education ministry to resume mediation Sept. 23

Despite an expired contract, teachers in Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools will carry on business as usual as the school year begins.

The last deal ended in June and while a B.C. Labour Relations Board mediator, David Schaub, met with the B.C. Ministry of Education and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation last week, negotiations have recessed until Sept. 23, with the provincial teachers’ union stating in a social media post that the hiatus will allow both sides to work on their proposals. Until then, language from the old contract will carry over until a new one is ratified, said Denise Wood, president of the Nanaimo District Teachers’ Association, the union local.

“Right now, we have class size limits for most classes, I would say, we have ratios for specialist teachers and we have composition language, which basically tries to spread out complex classroom needs so that they’re not all concentrated in one classroom,” she said. “What the employer is tabling, it would remove all of that. It would increase class sizes significantly, it would remove all reference to complexity of classrooms or class needs and they are also trying to increase the ratios for specialist teachers.”

RELATED: Teachers’ union head worries new deal could see job losses

RELATED: School returns in B.C. with uncertainty

RELATED: Teachers’ union president elated with Supreme Court ruling

Wood said she couldn’t discuss if the sides were close to a deal, but did say the 20-day break will give the sides time to “see if we can make some changes that might be amenable on both sides.”

Class size and composition negotiating rights were removed from the collective bargaining agreement in 2002 by the government of the day and were restored in 2016 by a ruling from the Supreme Court of Canada. Wood said the union doesn’t want to lose those rights again.

“The employer has tabled concessions on April 2 and that hasn’t changed,” said Wood. “That didn’t change the whole time we were with mediation and that’s a big problem for teachers because they’re asking for concessions to the very language that we won back in the Supreme Court of Canada in 2016 that we fought 14 years in the courts to get back and we’re not willing to give those up.”

Speaking last Friday, before the break was announced, Rob Fleming, B.C. education minister, told the News Bulletin he was optimistic about talks.

“I’m proud to say that the tone and respect that we took with teachers getting to the bargaining table, I think has got us to a positive place here where we’re not dwelling in the uncertainty and strife that we were in 2015,” said Fleming. “We’ll get to a deal; whether it’s today or in the days and weeks ahead remains to be seen.”



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Karl on Twitter and Instagram

Just Posted

These Douglas fir logs were recently found poached on Stoney Hill in North Cowichan’s forest reserve. (Larry Pynn/sixmountains.ca)
OPINION: Cowichan Valley’s Six Mountains Forest: War or Peace—The Choice is Ours

Icel Dobel writes in favour of protecting Cowichan Valley forests

North Cedar Volunteer Fire Department crews at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Barnes Road near Holden Corso Road in Cedar. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Jeep rolls over on wet afternoon in Cedar, occupants OK

Incident happened Monday, May 17, on Barnes Road

The former St. Joseph’s School converted to the St. Joseph’s Art Studios in 2019. (File photo by Don Bodger)
Former Chemainus St. Joseph’s School site sold to addictions recovery group

Diocese stresses the importance of a community outreach option in its decision

The bow-legged bear was seen roaming 2nd Avenue on Friday, May 7 and again in Brown Drive Park on May 13. (Submitted photo)
Bow-legged Ladysmith bear euthanized after vet examination

CO Stuart Bates said the bear had obvious health issues

The Arts Council of Ladysmith and District is working with several Vancouver Island art councils on the Digitial Innovation Group to improve digital skills for Island artists. (Submitted photo)
Digital Innovation Group supports digital literacy for Island artists

The goal is to leverage digital skills to promote Vancouver Island as an ‘arts powerhouse’

North Cedar Volunteer Fire Department crews at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Barnes Road near Holden Corso Road in Cedar. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Jeep rolls over on wet afternoon in Cedar, occupants OK

Incident happened Monday, May 17, on Barnes Road

More “strings of lights” were seen on May 15, 2021, in night sky over Vancouver Island. (File photo)
Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Nathan Zuk had left his mother’s residence in Whaletown on Cortes Island in mid-December 2020 in a 14’ skiff rowboat and headed to an unknown location near the Pryce Channel, Deer passage, or Toba Inlet. Photo courtesy RCMP
RCMP need help finding man who set off from Cortes Island in 14-foot rowboat

Nathan Zuk left in December, may have been last seen in Toba Inlet approximately three weeks ago

Discarded construction materials make up nearly 40 per cent of all materials sent to the landfill from sources in the city of Victoria. (Zero Waste Victoria)
Victoria looks to curb waste by turning demolitions into deconstructions

Community drafting bylaw forcing developers to be better at salvage and recycling

Emergency service workers at the collision scene along Highway 4 in Hilliers on Sunday, May 16. A motorcyclist was airlifted to hospital by BC Air Ambulance and later died. (Collin C photo)
UPDATE: Motorcyclist dies from injuries sustained in Mid-Island highway collision

BC Highway Patrol says impairment not a contributing factor in crash

Most Read