No deal in Saanich school worker strike, employer and union say

No deal in Saanich school worker strike, employer and union say
CUPE 441 members meeting at Friendship Community Church in Central Saanich Wednesday afternoon to discuss next steps in the Saanich School District strike.

Striking support staff workers are gathering in Central Saanich to discuss what CUPE 441 is calling the employer’s “final package” and their next steps in negotiations.

Following negotiations that went late into Tuesday night, both sides say no deal is struck.

“I am proud of the hard work of our bargaining committee and the support of members. However, our efforts to be creative and move toward the employer’s position were not reciprocated,” CUPE 441 President Dean Coates said in a bulletin issued to members Wednesday.

School District 63 said in a release Wednesday that job action will continue after the “most recent bargaining from this did not conclude in a negotiated settlement.”

“It is unfortunate that the union chose to walk away from the table as we were making progress and finding common ground in a number of areas,” Board of Education Vice-Chair Elsie McMurphy said in a statement.

The employer says it has tabled wage increases of 7.07 per cent to 12.8 per cent to address the union’s concerns of parity with neighbouring districts, Victoria and Sooke.

“I am disappointed that we did not reach an agreement that the bargaining committee felt they could recommend to members,” Coates added.

According to Coates, the union wants to set up some more bargaining dates. The main issue relates to wage disparity in comparison to neighbouring districts.

“What’s on the table from the employer that I went through with the membership was by far not enough,” Coates said.

“They didn’t find it respectful.”

The Saanich School District strike is now in its eighth day, cancelling classes for almost 8,000 students.

CUPE Local 441 represents more than 500 support staff in School District 63 (Saanich).  Employee classifications include;  School Support Worker (E.A.’s, Technical Support Staff, Library Techs and Youth and Family Counsellors), Clerical, Custodial, District Resource Centre, Transportation, Grounds and Maintenance.


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