B.C.'s education workers are threatening to strike as early as mid-September, says CUPE B.C. K-12 co-ordinator Bill Pegler.

"The patience of our members is wearing thin," Pegler told CBC News on Sunday.

"You have to have two sides to bargain and so far the government's side hasn't come up with anything."

Talks between the union representing 27,000 education assistants, youth workers, clerical staff, trades, custodians, bus drivers and the B.C. Public School Employers' Association broke off earlier this month.

They are set to resume Sept. 4.

"They've told us they're going to have something for us and so we're hopeful that... we're going to see some kind of package that's going to get negotiations going and forestall a difficult job action," Pegler said.

On Monday, education workers will launch a radio and television advertising campaign to garner support ahead of the negotiations.

CUPE B.C. K-12 spokesman Colin Pawson says members have not had a wage increase for more than four years and the union is hoping for funded settlements similar to those for other public-sector employees.

"If the government doesn't show a commitment to bargaining, our members will take full-scale job action," Pawson said in a statement released Sunday. "The clock is ticking."

A spokesperson for the B.C. government told CBC News they hope to reach agreement in order to avoid significant disruptions to the school year.


  • A previous version of this story incorrectly stated B.C. teachers were releasing ads to garner support for upcoming negotiations with the province. In fact, CUPE is releasing the ads.
    Aug 26, 2013 5:45 AM PT
With files from the CBC's Calyn Shaw