Saanich School District (SD 63) and the union representing the district’s support staff have agreed to mediation in efforts to sign a new collective bargaining agreement.
In a release Monday, SD 63 Board Vice-Chair Elsie McMurphy said, “we are hopeful that productive discussions can continue with the assistance of a mediator.”
SD 63 says it has presented CUPE 441 with three concurrent proposals that all provide wage increases through funds reallocated within the collective agreement.
The district says the proposals would “provide wage increases beyond the general wage increase contained within the Provincial Framework Agreement, which, in addition to other matters, provides for general wage increases of 6% over the three-year term of the agreement.”
In late August, support staff voted in favour of potential strike action and served 72-hour strike notice to the district.
When voting on strike action ended Aug. 27, CUPE 441 President Dean Coates said workers in SD 63 have received substantially lower wages than their counterparts in Sooke and Victoria for decades, and they want comparable wages with other districts on the South Island.
According to CUPE, the local bargained with the district on six occasions then held a strike vote.
CUPE 441 over 400 employees in the following classifications; 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.
“The School District believes that we have put the elements of a successful collective agreement on the table and we are committed to work fully with the mediator to conclude an agreement with CUPE Local 441,” McMurphy said in Monday’s release.