Members of the Saanich School District (SD63) support workers union voted to ratify an agreement with the Board of Education Sunday afternoon, effectively putting an end to a three-week strike that kept more than 7,000 Saanich and Peninsula students out of school.
On Sunday, CUPE Local 441, the union representing the school district’s support staff, posted a notice to its website saying members “voted to accept the tentative agreement at a ratification meeting on Sunday afternoon.”
“CUPE members will be back in classrooms as schools reopen Monday morning,” the notice reads.
The strike, centred primarily on wage disparity between SD63’s support staff and workers from surrounding regions, ends with a new agreement that includes a three-year contract with general wage increases of two per cent each year as per the Provincial Framework Agreement, bringing members “to or significantly closer to wage parity within the region.”
In a statement, CUPE 441 President Dean Coates thanked the bargaining committee and local community for their support.
“We could not have reached this agreement without the backing of this community,” he said. “We commit to working with the school district to build a relationship of respect moving forward.”
A recruitment and retention working group will also be established and will meet on a regular basis.
In a notice posted to the SD63 website Sunday, the District says the new agreement is consistent with the province’s Sustainable Services Negotiating Mandate.
CUPE 441 represents nearly 500 kindergarten to Grade 12 SD63 support staff including education assistants, technical support staff, library techs, youth and family counsellors, clerical, custodial, grounds, maintenance, transportation, trades and district support staff.
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