Province signs deal with school support staff
B.C. Education Minister Peter Fassbender said he was ‘disappointed’ by the B.C. Teachers' Federation announcement of a strike vote next week. Michael Mui, 24 hours
Education Minister Peter Fassbender said on Monday a newly signed deal with school support workers includes a promise government will pay those workers back wages lost during teachers’ strike actions.
This past weekend, a tentative deal for 5.5% in wage increase over five years was signed between the provincial bargainer and CUPE K-12, which represents 26,000 B.C. school support workers.
According to CUPE, the deal — which has not yet been ratified — also includes increased hours for education assistants and improved benefits.
“My hope is that this could send a signal to the BCTF (B.C. Teachers’ Federation),” Fassbender said, adding he still considers the teachers’ wage increase proposal too high.
The BCTF, which is voting through Tuesday night to determine whether it will launch a full-scale strike, was unavailable for comment Monday. The teachers’ union has also scheduled rotating strikes this week.
Fassbender said he recognizes CUPE was not responsible for school strikes, even though employees wouldn’t cross picket lines.
“We will return what they’ve lost, and they will not have their pay affected for this round of the labour dispute with the BCTF,” he said.