Province cuts school support deal ahead of teachers strike vote

Tentative agreement gives CUPE staff in schools 5.5 per cent wage increases over five years (WITH AUDIO)

The province has struck a tentative deal with 34,000 school support staff on the eve of B.C. teachers’ vote on staging a full-scale strike.

The five-year agreement reached Saturday provides wage increases totalling 5.5 per cent, with potential for more tied to the performance of the B.C. economy – in line with the standard settlements reached with other public sector unions.

It covers education assistants, school secretaries, caretakers, bus drivers and other education support staff, mostly represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

The union and provincial negotiators with the B.C. Public School Employers Association hammered the deal out in just five days following the start of talks last Tuesday.

“This success provides ample evidence that the bargaining system works — when the parties come to the table with reasonable expectations and a flexible, solution-oriented approach,” said BCPSEA public administrator Michael Marchbank said.

“We built some momentum very quickly,” CUPE B.C. spokesman Rob Hewitt said. “The government came our direction enough to meet in the middle and we found a solution.”

He said the union also secured increased hours for education assistants and standardization gains to extended health benefit plans.

Asked if the timing of talks amid the intensifying teachers dispute helped CUPE negotiators, Hewitt said only the teachers were not discussed at the table.

Also included is an Employee Support Grant covering any wages CUPE members lose by refusing to cross legal picket lines.

The union’s support for the B.C. Teachers Federation and teachers’ pursuit of long-term adequate funding for public education “hasn’t changed one iota,” CUPE B.C. president Mark Hancock said.

“Just as the teachers have been at our side as our members have fought for public education, we continue to stand with them.”

The deal running through to the summer of 2019 must still be ratified by union members.

As with other agreements, school support staff get further wage increases in the final four years of the agreement equivalent to half of any increase of provincial economic growth in excess of the budget’s forecast.

GDP growth of one per cent above the forecast in a given year would, for example, trigger a further 0.5 per cent pay hike.

Just Posted

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van burst into flames just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Kids from a MOSS Sailing Camp sail just off Canal Waterfront Park in Alberni Inlet during a day camp in August 2014. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)
MOSS Sailing camps return to Alberni Valley

One-week camps designed for kids will take place at Sproat Lake

Robert Gunn of Alberni Climate Action loads garbage discovered in the Alberni Inlet around Cous Creek into his canoe during a recent ocean shoreline cleanup. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Alberni Climate Action group creates NIC scholarship

Students attending college full time may apply through NIC

Two ambulances and a medevac helicopter are on scene at Taylor River Flats rest area on Highway 4 due to a serious motor vehicle incident. (PHOTO COURTESY MAGGIE BROWN)
Highway 4 reopens after accident at Taylor River Flats

Multi-vehicle crash had closed highway to west coast

The Rollin Art Centre is holding children’s art camps this summer. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
ARTS AROUND: Celebrate art in the garden

Rollin Art Centre will host art event on Saturday, June 26

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

Most Read