BC Teachers to sue province despite tentative deal

A teacher protests on a street corner in Vancouver, British Columbia June 20, 2012.

Credits: Andy Clark/REUTERS


VANCOUVER - The BC Teachers' Federation is taking the government to court despite a tentative agreement struck with the province's bargaining agent late Tuesday.

Federation president Susan Lambert announced Wednesday her organization is filing a civil claim regarding Bill 22 - legislation preventing teachers' job action - after reaching a potential deal with BC Public School Employers' Association.

Public school teachers spent much of the past year engaged in job action that saw grades go unreported and extracurricular activities suspended.

But Lambert said the government forced bad faith bargaining during the deal's negotiations by enacting Bill 22, which threatened punitive fines against the federation if job action continued.

Although details on the tentative agreement were not released, Lambert said educators will see improvements to benefits and leave provisions, while salaries, class sizes and class compositions will remain the same.

Premier Christy Clark said she was pleased the tentative agreement was made in the context of a net zero mandate - or wage freeze - that protects taxpayers.

Teachers began casting votes Wednesday on whether to accept the deal and results will be released after voting wraps on Friday.

The new agreement would be effective until June 30, 2013.

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