Imagine that you teach for the next 25 years—and don’t get a salary increase. That is what happens to a pension without indexing.
Many teachers live at least 25 years after retiring and being awarded an annual increase is key to a comfortable retirement.
The pensions campaign in 1980 was about ensuring ongoing indexing was built into the plan. The BCTF didn’t achieve a full indexing guarantee. Rather, it is a separate indexing fund, and if not enough is in the fund, the indexing would be less than the Consumer Price Index.
In fact, conditions have been good enough that teachers have received full CPI indexing for the last 35 years and the prospects are good for the future as well.
The 1980 campaign was important in building the activist experience that eventually led to full collective bargaining and the right to strike. Seven lower mainland locals held one-day strikes as part of the protests.
A sense of the 1980 campaign can be found in the Full Indexing Song that was written by Geoff Peters and performed at the various rallies about indexing.