More than 7,000 students are still out of school Thursday morning as the SD63 support workers’ strike heads into its fourth day.
On Wednesday, the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association (GVTA) expressed support for the CUPE 441 members on the picket line in a bid for wage parity with surrounding school districts.
“CUPE 441 are earning significantly less than their counterparts,” GVTA said in a media release, emphasizing the sustainable services negotiating mandate entrenches wage inequality for lower earners, but allows for “additional targeted funds to address existing, chronic labour market challenges where employers need to meet service delivery commitments.”
The GVTA also called on the provincial government to “step up with the funds to make this happen and get everyone back to school.”
Saanich Parks and Recreation is preparing for a second week of day camps in response to the strike, offering camps from Nov. 4 to 8 from 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., at a cost of $40 per day. Registration opened Wednesday.
CUPE Local 441 represents nearly 500 kindergarten to Grade 12 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 school districts due to a decision made by the local decades ago to choose increased benefits over a higher salary.
Both the union and North Saanich-Islands MLA Adam Olsen have called on the provincial government to step in and help with a resolution, but the government has insisted SD63 and CUPE 441 must negotiate within terms set out by the public framework agreement, a B.C. mandate for compensation and other key sector matters inside which local bargaining occurs.
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