Greater Victoria schools could be behind pickets Monday

Talks continue between Greater Victoria School District and CUPE 947, but union issued 72-hour strike notice Wednesday afternoon

Greater Victoria schools could be behind picket lines as early as Monday, after one of the unions representing inside workers issued 72-hour strike notice on Wednesday.

John Gaiptman, superintendent of SD61, said the district received notice from CUPE 947 around 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday.

“That means that job action will commence at 7:30 Monday morning, unless we have it resolved,” he said.

The union represents clerical and information technology staff and education assistants in the Greater Victoria School District. In December members rejected a contract that included a 3.5-per-cent wage hike, but came with a benefits package that had a cut in coverage for medication costs.

Nathan Allen, a spokesperson for CUPE, said talks between the union, the school district and the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association are continuing.

“People seem to be willing to talk again, but job action is a possibility,” he said.

Gaiptman said the parties plan to meet again Friday.

If pickets do go up, the superintendent is asking parents to keep their children away from schools on Monday.

“We will have principals and vice-principals at each of our schools, but there won’t be any instruction and we won’t have enough adults on site to properly supervise,” he said.

The school district will update its website (sd61.bc.ca) on the weekend to provide parents with the most up-to-date information.

The News was unable to get comment from directly from a CUPE 947 spokesperson before our press deadline.

kslavin@saanichnews.com