Premier wades into Saanich school strike as classes cancelled Friday


After a week and a half, no deal has been struck and there is no end in sight to the Saanich school support worker strike.

That’s frustrating parents dropping off their children at Panorama Recreation Centre on Thursday morning.

As for students in high school, it’s also a frustrating time.

Grade 10 student Matthew Armstrong is worried about the work to do once classes resume.

“Especially Social Studies because we do tend to get a lot of work in Social Studies. So trying to get as much done as possible before that,” Armstrong said.

With a heavy course load, Grade 12 student Nicole Beaulac also wants to get back to class.

“I want to be doing my courses, and interacting with my friends. But instead, we’re stuck out here, waiting for the strike to end,” Beaulac said.

The union rejected the latest offer from the employer on Wednesday. The main issue relates to wage disparity between the lowest-paid education assistants and those in neighbouring districts.

On Thursday, Premier John Horgan spoke about the dispute.

“With respect to the School District 63, where CUPE workers are currently on strike. I’m hopeful that the offer that’s been made by the employer in District 63 will be reviewed by the members and accepted,” Horgan said.

The district is offering pay hikes of seven to 12 per cent for some positions, and say it’s the best they can do under a provincial mandate that caps salary increases.  In the meantime, picket lines will remain throughout Saanich. No talks are currently scheduled between the school district and CUPE Local 441.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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