Although open to a long-term contract, the new head of the B.C. Teachers' Federation says he's not in favour of the 10-year deal Premier Christy Clark is promoting.
"It's never been put on the bargaining table," Jim Iker said Wednesday.
Iker is in Kamloops for the federation's annual summer conference being held this week at Thompson Rivers University.
He spoke on a number of points, including anti-homophobia policies and teacher bargaining. Iker said he's optimistic about a more amicable relationship with the province.
In order for that to happen, the B.C. Liberals must improve funding for public education. Iker said the province is far behind others in per-student funding.
"Our members were very clear in the vote they had in June that what they want to see are the necessary resources to conclude a deal at the bargaining table," he said.
Iker is open to a long-term contract, he said, adding the teachers' union signed off on one from 2006 to 2011. But the province needs to budge on some of the union's demands.
"If government comes to the bargaining table with the necessary resources to conclude that fair deal for our members and do what's best for students, then we'll look at that," said Iker.
Bargaining won't resume until after the Supreme Court rules on the province's decision to remove from the collective agreement the union's ability to give input on class size and class composition limits. Iker said a decision is expected in October.
Kamloops-Thompson school trustee Gerald Watson is confident a long-term deal would be good for public education. But he agrees with Iker that the province needs to put money on the table.
"If it's a negotiated solution, I think it's great for everybody," he said. "You can't argue that a long-term agreement is good or bad until you look at what's in it."
Watson is the school board's representative for the B.C. Public School Employees' Association, the province's bargaining arm with teachers.
Education Minister Peter Fassbender recently removed the association from the bargaining process and appointed a public administrator in its place.