Sep 13, 2013

Upcoming bargaining dates crucial to BC schools staying open—CUPE BC

Government must drop concession demands or face strike

BURNABY—Bargaining dates set for next week between CUPE’s K-12 bargaining committee and the provincial government are crucial to achieving a fair and reasonable contract settlement, but if the BC Liberal government doesn’t drop its demands for contract concessions, CUPE members will have no choice but to stage a full-scale province-wide strike, CUPE BC President Mark Hancock said today.

“Our members have been patient, and our negotiators have been patient,” said Hancock. “And no one knows the potential impact of job action on parents and students better than our members in the K-12 sector. But the provincial government’s constant and consistent demands that our members actually receive less in a new contract are out of line with what’s happened at other provincial negotiating tables.

“If our members are forced to strike, they will have the full support of all our 85,000 members across the province, as well as 625,000 CUPE members across the country.”

The government’s most recent contract offer, tabled last Sunday, offers less than a zero percent increase, at the same time as other provincial sector unions received increases of 2 or more percent.

“We understand that the current economic climate is challenging,” said Hancock. “That’s why we’ve proposed a contract that’s fair and reasonable for the taxpayer and that recognizes and respects the important work CUPE members do that helps make our education system world class.

“Premier Clark was elected on a ‘families first’ platform. Families depend on clean, safe and inclusive schools for their kids. And the work CUPE members do is crucial to an excellent education.”

CUPE represents 27,000 workers in the K-12 sector in BC.

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