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Strike Averted: Tentative deal reached for CUPE public school workers

Teachers in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows were told Tuesday to expect a strike by CUPE education workers as early as Monday, meaning there could be no classes. - Photo: CUPE.bc.ca
Teachers in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows were told Tuesday to expect a strike by CUPE education workers as early as Monday, meaning there could be no classes.
— image credit: Photo: CUPE.bc.ca

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

On Tuesday, teachers had been told (by CUPE members) to expect a strike as early as Monday.

CUPE BC represents 27,000 of the set-to-strike workers. 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.

"CUPE BC's 27,000 education workers are vital to keeping our schools clean, safe and inclusive," said CUPE BC president Mark Hancock, in a statement. "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."

Both sides have yet to ratify the deal.

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