Support staff for the Saanich School District have voted in favour of potential strike action as contract negotiations continue.
CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees) 441 is now in a position to serve 72-hour strike notice to the district.
CUPE says voting for CUPE 441 members was held on nine occasions at two locations during the month of August, concluding on Aug. 27. A large number of members voted with an overwhelming majority voting to take job action if necessary, CUPE said.
CUPE 441 President Dean Coates said that workers in School District 63 (Saanich) 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.
“The provincial framework agreement doesn’t meet the needs of our members. The employer recently began paying managers and administrators comparable wages because they see the value in attracting and keeping qualified people,” Coates said in a statement.
“We want them to also recognize and value the contribution of support staff in Saanich schools.”
According to CUPE, the local bargained with the district on six occasions then held a strike vote.
In a notice to parents Thursday afternoon, the Saanich School District Superintendent Dave Eberwein says the district anticipates school will open next week as expected.
Parents will be informed if a job action occurs and the district says it may not necessarily result in complete school closures.
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.