The College of New Caledonia Faculty Association has reached a settlement on compensation that will give college instructors a four per cent wage increase over the life of a two-year contract, which would expire March 31, 2014.
The tentative deal, reached on Sunday, offers four salary scale increases in one per cent increments, the first retroactive to Jan. 1, 2013. Other increases would take effect on April 1, Sept. 1 and Jan. 1, 2014.
"Four per cent is consistent with what other public sector unions have been able to negotiate in this round," said CNC Faculty Association president David Rourke.
"We weren't prepared to settle for anything less than that, it was just a matter of what we might negotiate in order to get that."
The deal, agreed to by 10 participating locals in the Federation of Post Secondary
Educators (FPSE), was announced Tuesday afternoon in Vancouver by the Post Secondary Employers' Association, the provincial government's bargaining agent since 2004.
"We are very pleased to report that the 10 participating FPSE locals and their respective employers have reached this tentative agreement and understand that non-participating FPSE Locals, also in attendance in this forum, will seek to conclude agreements with their employers on the same compensation terms," said Post Secondary Employers' Association CEO Anita Bleick.
"This is more good news for the sector, in particular our students whose interests are always the top priority of both sides of the negotiating table. Many people devoted exceptional time and energy to reach this tentative settlement, which is one more step towards the conclusion of bargaining in this sector under the 2012 mandate."
Ratification votes will be held by each of the 10 locals once all local bargaining issues have been settled. Bargaining on those issues is scheduled for Feb. 13-15.
"We still have local issues [to negotiate] but they are all non-monetary so it won't be anything to do with benefits or salary, just language changes to working conditions," said Rourke. "Now that the compensation has been dealt, we can deal with these local issues."
CNC has 155 part-time and 133 full-time instructors at its five campuses.
Terms of the agreement are in line with the province's co-operative gains mandate, which requires public sector unions to find savings within their respective organizations to pay the cost of members' compensation gains.
Rourke said those savings were achieved through an expedited arbitration hearing and mediation process, which saved on salaries. Both sides agreed to joint development of employee training to create a respective work environment - a mandatory one-day course on harassment and bullying. The union also agreed to allow their employers to claw back a professional development fund paid for by instructors if that fund, which represents 0.6 per cent of salaries, is not used at the end of the year. Before the new agreement, any unused portions of the fund were rolled over to the following year.
The tentative deal affects faculty at all colleges and special-purpose universities in B.C. It does not include UNBC, UBC, UVic, Simon Fraser University and Royal Roads University.
The non-unionized UNBC Faculty Association is still awaiting arbitration dates for its contract talks. "We're still waiting, absolutely nothing has changed," said UNBC Faculty Association president Jacqueline Holler.