LETTER: Middle ground for teaachers and government

Set salaries to rate of inflation, plus signing bonus

So the government and teachers are still at logger heads about an agreement. As of June 4, the teachers lowered their position to a contract which includes roughly a 14.7% increase for them over four years. This number includes a 6.7% wage increase over the four years and a 2% cost of living increase per year.

The government is offering a 7.25% increase over six years, with no cost of living and a signing bonus of $1,200 per teacher. If a teacher earns $60,000 per year then the bonus is equal to 2% of their wages. In total the government is then offering a 1.53% increase per year over six years including the signing bonus.

Both sides are being unrealistic in their numbers. Besides a salary increase teachers have pension and benefits that are paid by their employer. Teachers’ pensions are based on their income so any increase in wages does have a direct affect on the future pension benefits they receive. So it is not as simple as just as salary increase as pension benefits are also affected and the BCTF is being mum about this fact.

Is it reasonable to expect an employee to lose purchasing power? No and the government is asking teachers to in fact lose ground with their offer over six years. If inflation is 2% then teachers are losing about .47% per year and over six years they lose roughly 3% in purchasing power. Think of it this way, if today you make $60,000 per year, your pay will drop over the next six years to $58,200. Would anyone of us agree to this, so why would we expect teachers too? Do our MLAs ever take a pay cut?

The reality is that both sides need a middle ground. So I am going to put forth a solution.

1.    Contract to be five years, this is the middle of what both sides want.

2.    Salaries to be tied to the rate of inflation as defined by Stats Canada. The inflation rate over the past 10 years saw the highest rate being 2.37% in 2008 and a low of 0.31% in 2009. Hence the government and BCTF could budget and expect somewhere just below 2% per year.

3.    No direct salary increase, however, a signing bonus as the government offered of $1,200.

Enough about this as both the Government and BCTF are acting like spoiled brats who cannot share and have a pout on. It is time for them to find a middle ground and get on with their responsibilities.

We all hear the rhetoric and both sides like to keep us in the dark. I personally am not interested in being treated in this manner when I have a very significant stake in this as a taxpayer and a parent.

Robert Simoes