Raises for school staff could mean cuts
Sep 8, 2013 / 12:00 pm
CUPE and the provincial government have been continuing negotiations over the weekend, but raises for some CUPE members could mean cuts elsewhere in the district.
“We have been informed that we will have to come up with a savings plan that will fund any increase to those CUPE members in our school district,” said Moyra Baxter, Board of Education Chairperson and School Trustee.
Although raises for teachers would be covered by the province, support staff like maintenance workers, bus drivers, education assistants, school secretaries, caretakers, First Nations support workers, IT workers and trades would not.
“These workers are indespensible,” said Moyra. “They have been without an agreement for a year and they deserve this increase.”
She says that they could possibly fund the first year of increases, estimated at 2%, using a $1 million contingency fund included in their roughly $200 million annual budget, but says that would jeopardize their ability to cope with anything that might occur.
What would happen after the first year, Moyra is unable to say.
“We’re in the position where we don’t know exactly how much money we may have to find,” she said.
“If the government says we have to find the money, we’ll have to find the money. That’s the bottom line.”
Presidents’ Council and the employer will continue to meet over the weekend in order to avert a strike. At this time, members remain on strike alert and if a strike is called, BC teachers are expected to join.
“There has been give and take for the first time at the table,” said Colin Pawson, Chair of the CUPE BC K-12 Presidents’ Council.
“Discussions are ongoing, but the negotiations have reached a critical stage.”
The Canadian Union of Public Employees represents more than 27,000 education BC workers in the K-12 system.
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