Strike avoided with CUPE school support workers

Public school support workers and the provincial government reached a tentative deal, but school districts on the hook for wage hikes

Public school support workers and the provincial government reached a tentative deal Wednesday night, quashing fears of an imminent labour strike that could have disrupted the school year.

But if local CUPE unions ultimately ratify the agreement, school districts will be on the hook to pay for a negotiated 3.5-per-cent wage increase.

“Absolutely this will be challenging. We don’t have any extra money and now there’s a burden placed upon the district to find those dollars (if the deal is ratified),” said John Gaiptman, superintendent of the Greater Victoria School District (SD61).

The province has told school districts that they need to find the money for support staff wage increases in their existing budgets.

Regardless of that obstacle, Gaiptman said the tentative deal is “very good news.”

“We were really hoping that a deal could be struck with CUPE that would be acceptable to both parties and ensure that our support staff would be in our schools and that the school year would not be disrupted,” he said.

Gilles Larose, president of CUPE 382, which represents some 225 custodial, trades and non-trades workers in SD61, said the agreement is “a positive step forward.”

“At the end of the day it’s about getting the best deal for district, for our members and for the K-12 sector. We want to be valued for the work we do, and we think this went somewhat towards this,” Larose said.

The tentative two-year deal, retroactive to July 1, 2012, includes a 3.5-per-cent wage increase over the two years, and introduces a system for up-front prescription costs. There are no concessions for CUPE workers in the tentative deal.

Barb Fetherstonhaugh, PAC president at Spectrum community school, says she, too, is glad a tentative agreement was reached.

“In my head I’ve been thinking back to when teachers were on job action (in the 2011-12 school year) and how it affected students, staff, the overall co-operative and supportive environment of the school,” she said. “It’s hard when parts of that community are experiencing the stress of job action, so this is a relief.”

Support staff in the Greater Victoria School District are represented by both CUPE 382 and CUPE 947, which represents some 900 inside workers.

Larose says the next steps in the process involve the CUPE BC K-12 Presidents’ Council having to ratify the framework agreement, then each of the unions around the province will have a ratification vote before the end of the year.

kslavin@saanichnews.com

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VicPD confirms wolf sighting in James Bay

Police ask that children and pets be taken inside

VIDEO: Furry, four-legged donors make their way to doggy blood drive in Langford

WAVES and Canadian Animal Blood Bank host blood drive for dogs

Annual Salmon Carcass Transplant draws Saanich residents to Douglas Creek

More than 100 frozen salmon tossed into the creek as part of ecological restoration

Colwood hosts open house on future of Royal Bay community

Event takes place on Jan. 22 at Royal Bay Secondary from 6 to 8 p.m.

WATCH: Police warn car break-ins are on the rise in Greater Victoria

Residents can ‘take precautions to make their vehicle undesirable,’ says VicPD spokesperson

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

VIDEO: Drone footage shows extent of damage in Highway 4 rockslide

Tofino, Ucluelet still cut off from rest of the island, as crews work to repair roadway

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

UBC grad and sister killed in Iran plane crash had bright futures ahead, close friend says

Asadi-Lari siblings Mohammad Hussein and Zeynab were two of 57 Canadians aboard downed Flight PS752

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

Most Read