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Updated: Tue, 02 Sep 2014 13:20:42 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

B.C. teachers' strike: How far apart are the 2 sides?



BCTF president Jim Iker and B.C. Minister of Education Peter Fassbender sat down for one-on-one interviews with CBC News' Andrew Chang Monday, Sept. 1, 2014. Watch those interviews by clicking on the video icons. CBC

BCTF president Jim Iker and B.C. Minister of Education Peter Fassbender sat down for one-on-one interviews with CBC News' Andrew Chang Monday, Sept. 1, 2014. Watch those interviews by clicking on the video icons. CBC

The B.C. Teachers' Federation and the B.C. Public School Employers' Association can't seem to agree on terms that would resolve the current contract dispute and get teachers back in the classroom.

Here's a look at three of the areas where the teachers and the employer differ.

1. Contract term

The employer seeks a six-year contract term, while the teachers' union wants a five-year contract.

2. Signing bonus

The employer says the offer of a $1,200 signing bonus has expired and is off the table, while the union is holding out for a $5,000 signing bonus.

3. Wage increase

"We're close on wages. They're one per cent apart, in terms of the actual number," BCTF president Jim Iker said Monday.

While the employer is offering a seven per cent wage increase, the union is demanding an eight per cent wage increase. But B.C. Minister of Education Peter Fassbender said the wage calculation isn't that simple.

"The real sticking block at the moment is the benefits. If you put wages and benefits together, the BCTF ask is still double—double—what every other public sector union has settled for," Fassbender said.

The employer says that with the reduced hours and other benefits being asked for, the effective wage increase the union seeks is 11.2 per cent.

Class size and composition, special needs

Three other important areas where the two sides have yet to reach an agreement are class size, class composition and support for special needs students, which are currently the subject of a legal battle.

In January, the B.C. Supreme Court ordered the province to pay $2 million in damages for removing the teachers' collective rights to bargain on the three issues in 2002 — and for failing to reinstate them when ordered by the court in April 2013.

In February, the education minister announced the government would be appealing that ruling.

The government then included a provision — known as E80 — in its June 15 contract proposal in an attempt to negotiate a settlement on the issues.

On Tuesday morning, Iker said there was no way the union would "negotiate away the recent court decision" and demanded the government drop E80 from its contract proposal.

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More B.C. teachers' strike coverage from CBC News:

- VOTE| How long do you think B.C. schools will be closed?

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