The kids could be heading back to school on Monday, as the B.C. teacher’s strike looks to finally be over.
The two sides reached an agreement on Tuesday in the wee hours of the morning. Vince Ready, a veteran mediator who has helped negotiate labour agreements in British Columbia as far back as the 1980s, helped them find a workable solution. Ready had initially declined the invitation to mediate the teacher’s dispute, but chose to wade into the foray in mid August after two other mediators, Mark Brown and B.C. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Kelleher, refused to offer assistance.
The new six-year collective agreement will see a 7.25 per cent salary increase for the teachers over the next six years. The agreement also calls for $400 million to be spent on additional educational needs such as hiring new teachers, controlling class size and increasing the number of educational assistants.
Premier Christy Clark promises that the deal will not require a tax increase.
The teachers still need to vote on the agreement that would send their more than 40,000 members back to work. More importantly, it would allow 500,000 students the chance to resume their education.
Both sides might finally be able to get some sleep after three months of bitterness and frustration.