The president of the local teachers' union was surprised by a provincial government plan aimed at keeping labour peace for 10 years just as the parties had come to an understanding on the terms of negotiations.
George Serra, president of the Maple Ridge Teachers' Association, was worried last week when the provincial government came out with a plan on Thursday, called Working Together for Students, designed to bring labour peace for 10 years.
The plan is designed to bring "long-term stability for students and families" and improve interaction between the government and the teachers' union.
The plan came as a surprise for the teachers' union as they had been working for several months on a bargaining framework with the B.C. Public School Employers' Association (BCPSEA).
"That is why we're extremely puzzled by Christy Clark's announcement today," Serra said on Thursday, "because it seems a bit at odds with what BCPSEA and BCTF have been working on."
Serra was worried on Thursday that the BCPSEA might not ratify the framework because of this new document.
The teachers' last contract ended in June 2011 and throughout the 2011/2012 school year there was job action ranging from teachers not meeting with administration to strike days.
A last-minute negotiated contract was agreed to in June 2012, but it ends this June.
"I think everyone hopes that this round of bargaining will be different only because I don't think anyone was happy with a year of job action, a threat of legislation, and then some movement at the end when a mediator was involved," Serra said.
Both BCPSEA and BCTF ratified the framework this weekend.
The framework agreement puts into place common data to be used in negotiations and a mediator from the beginning of the process.