Tentative school deal reached

A tentative two-year contract has been reached between the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association and CUPE B.C

A tentative two-year contract has been reached between the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association and CUPE B.C., effectively halting a strike of 33,000 unionized public school staff in the province.

“Our CUPE employees, which includes school district employees such as trades people, certified education assistants, bus drivers, custodians, technicians, clerks, secretaries and other support workers, are an integral part of making our schools a great place for children to learn,” said Bobbi Johnson, North Okanagan-Shuswap School District chairperson.

The new deal provides union members a 3.5 per cent wage increase over the two years of the contract – one per cent on July 1, 2013 (retroactive), two per cent on Feb. 1, 2014, and 0.5 per cent on May 1, 2014.

The deal – which would begin on July 1, 2012 – is set to expire on June 30, 2014.

A wage increase will have to be found within school districts’ existing budgets.

For the North Okanagan-Shuswap, that amounts to $250,000.

“There is going to be hard work ahead to find the savings the government is requiring,” said Johnson.