The B.C. Teachers' Federation is estimating its latest proposal will cost taxpayers $565 million.
On Tuesday, Jan. 17, the B.C. Teachers' Federation named its price for a pay increase. The package proposes a three-year agreement, with a three per cent salary increase based on a cost of living allowance in the first year, and another three per cent cost of living increase, plus a three per cent market adjustment over the next two years. The package also proposes improvements to benefits and preparation time.
Originally thought to cost $300 million overall, the BCTF now estimates the proposal would cost $565 million in total - that's $305 million in the first year and $130 million in years two and three.
Education Minister George Abbott said the proposal still needs to be costed.
"Our best estimate is that we're still working in the hundreds of million of dollars at a time when we continue to have a net zero mandate," he said. "The challenge remains that we have a net-zero mandate for all of our collective bargaining agreements at a provincial level."
Negotiations between the teachers' union and BCPSEA (the bargaining agent for the provincial government) started in spring, and teachers have been on partial strike since September, refusing to do administrative work.
The government has mandated a net-zero increase in pay for public sector employees whose contracts are negotiated between 2010 to 2012. That means if teachers want a salary increase, they'll have to take something away elsewhere to cover the costs.
If the BCTF gets a salary increase, and breaks the net-zero mandate, it would trigger a clause in other public servant contracts negotiated under the same mandate, and those would have to be reopened to negotiate salary increases.