Saanich School District (SD63) has confirmed that schools will be closed for instruction starting Monday morning.
In an update to its website Sunday, the school district said CUPE 441 confirmed it intends to continue with a full withdrawal of services Sunday evening and has the support of the Saanich Teachers’ Association, which has indicated it will not be crossing picket lines.
CUPE Local 441 represents nearly 500 kindergarten to grade 12 support staff and workers including education assistants, support staff, library techs, youth and family counsellors and clerical, custodial, grounds, maintenance, transportation and trades staff.
The local served a 72-strike notice to the District on Oct. 23 after two unsuccessful mediation sessions on wage dissatisfaction. The workers are paid lower wages than their counterparts in bordering Districts, but the school district has pointed to a decision made by the local more than 20 years ago to choose more benefits over a higher salary.
Parents and guardians are being asked to make alternate arrangements for their children. The District has leveled that in an agreement reached more than 20 years ago, workers opted for more benefits in place of higher salaries.
SD63 has nearly 8,000 students in 14 schools ranging from elementary to secondary.
Saanich Parks and Recreation is hosting a day camp for at least the first week of the strike, with camps at the Gordon Head Recreation Centre and Saanich Commonwealth Place. Registration is required.
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