Support workers will be paid for lost strike wages

SURREY/DELTA – Education support workers caught up in the teachers’ strike will be reimbursed for lost wages, their union says.

That’s part of the agreement the Canadians Union of Public Employees has reached with the government, Rob Hewitt said Tuesday.

Hewitt is CUPE’s K-12 sector coordinator. The employer, he said, has agreed to “make

them whole for lost wages.”

Hewitt said that because the government is “fully funding” all of the increases covered by the agreement, this “should relieve some pressure on bargaining for school districts.”

The union represents more than 27,000 education support workers in 59 locals and 53 school districts throughout the province who have been picketing alongside the teachers, although it’s not their fight.

This includes education assistants, secretaries, caretakers, First Nations support workers, IT workers, StrongStart

facilitators, trades and maintenance workers and bus drivers.

On June 16, the K-12 Presidents’ Council today ratified a “framework” agreement with the BC Public School Employers’ Association that features a 5.5 per cent wage increase over five years, more hours for education assistants and a better health plan.

Marcel Marsolais, chairman of the K-12 Presidents Council, said every region of the province was represented at the bargaining table. “The ratification gives us a really good sense that the majority of locals are

satisfied with moving this forward to the next step, which is to get local bargaining done and ratified at the local level.

Signing bonuses are not part of the agreement, however.

On June 16, Jim Iker, president of the British Columbia Teachers Federation, which represents roughly 41,000 public school teachers, revealed the union is seeking a five-year collective agreement that would include an eight per cent wage increase and a $5,000 signing bonus.

The strike continues.

tzytaruk@thenownewspaper.com