B.C. school support staff reach a tenatitve deal with province

B.C. school support workers have reached a tentative deal with the provincial government, avoiding the potential for a strike.

The provincial bargaining committee working with the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) and the unions representing education support staff have reached a provincial framework agreement under the 2012 Cooperative Gains Mandate today.

The framework provides for modest wage increases of 3.5 per cent over two years, funded from savings found within existing school district budgets, as required under the 2012 Cooperative Gains Mandate.

Following local bargaining within the districts, ratification by union members and the BCPSEA board will be required to finalize the agreements. This framework agreement covers 33,000 support staff represented by 69 bargaining units, most of which are members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

“CUPE BC’s 27,000 education workers are vital to keeping our schools clean, safe and inclusive,” said CUPE BC President Mark Hancock. “I want to thank all 85,000 of our members across the province, and our K-12 members in particular, for their solidarity. It’s only because we held together that we were able to negotiate a fair and reasonable contract, despite demands for concessions from the government.”

“I would also like to thank the BC Teachers’ Federation for their unwavering commitment to public education in our province and for their strong support during these difficult negotiations,” added Hancock.

Settlements under the 2012 mandate are differentiated and unique across sectors and also among employers within sectors. The settlements vary based on the willingness and ability of employers and unions to fund the agreement through savings within existing budgets and/or collective agreements.

Almost three-quarters of the people working in B.C.’s public sector now have tentative or ratified agreements settled under the 2012 Cooperative Gains Mandate. This represents half of all agreements.