The BC Teachers Federation and the province’s Public Schools Employers’ Association remain at a standstill on a new deal.

The two sides have been talking since February with the main issues being class size and composition as well as salaries according to the BCTF.

President Teri Mooring hopes both sides can get back to the bargaining table very soon.

“The mediator has informed us that he remains involved in this because his report did not result in a deal, we’ve given him some dates and he’s seeking dates from the employer and we’re hoping to be back at the table in December.”

She adds the lack of cooperation has made negotiations a lot more difficult.

“The concessions really prevented bargaining from actually happening, that has frustrating since April and we wanted to have a discussion, they didn’t agree to that and at that point, they asked for the reporter of the mediator.”

Teacher Salary Graph showing BC ninth out of ten provinces (Photo supplied by BC Teachers Federation)

The recruitment and retention of teachers still remain an issue in the province.

Mooring adds in a lot of cases, the current staffing levels are being stretched too thin.

“What’s happening is non-enrolling teachers and specialist teachers like counselors, learning support teachers and teacher-librarians are being pulled from there jobs from helping students to going into classrooms and that’s not a realistic solution.”

“However, Prince George is able to be more successful at filling some of these gaps because of the university and I think the district works hard to recruit teachers from places like Newfoundland where jobs are quite scarce.”

Starting teacher salaries in BC are the second-lowest in the country at 49-thousand dollars, which is about 15 grand less than those beginning the same career in Alberta.