On Saturday evening a union representing support staff workers in the Saanich School District confirmed their intent to strike beginning Monday morning.
In an update posted to the website for School District 63 (Saanich), the District confirmed CUPE Local 441 will continue with a full withdrawal of services beginning earlier today, Monday Oct. 28 at 5:45 a.m.
“The union confirmed their intent earlier this evening,” the update from the District reads. ” The Saanich Teachers’ Association has also indicated that they will be instructing their members to not cross any picket lines.”
The update also confirms that all schools in the district of Saanich will be closed for instruction today.
They further advise that parents and guardians should make alternate arrangements for childcare. “We apologize for the considerable inconvenience that this strike creates for our community,” the update from the District reads. “We continue to request that CUPE meet with us to carry on negotiations within the agreed upon provincial parameters.”
Dean Coates, President of CUPE Local 441, says that the strike is aimed at keeping staff in the District by paying them an equitable wage comparable to other Districts.
“Parents need to know that we do not take strike action lightly,” said Coates. “Our low wages are affecting their children’s education in a negative way. We have a huge retention problem.”
Coates cited staff retention issues in educational assistant, bus driver, and information technology positions as the key reason the Union is seeking higher wages. “We’re looking for a regional wage adjustment,” said Coates. “It just brings us up to a median wage. We’re not asking for the highest wage.”