Tentative deal for school support workers heads off strike

Looming job action by 33,000 unionized public school support staff in British Columbia has been averted.

Looming job action by 33,000 unionized public school support staff in British Columbia has been averted.

The BC Public School Employers' Association and CUPE BC, which represents 27,000 of the affected workers, say a tentative two year contract has been reached.

It contains a total 3.5 per cent wage increase over the life of the deal, with a one per cent boost retroactive to July 1, a 2.5 per cent increase on Feb. 1, 2014 and a final hike of half a per cent next May.

The agreement expires June 30, 2014.

Both sides must still ratify the tentative pact, with voting dates to be announced, but CUPE negotiators say the terms will be recommended to the CUPE BC K-12 Presidents' Council for endorsement.

Public school employees, including education assistants, clerical staff, trades workers, bus drivers and others, have been without a contract for more than a year and schools in some parts of the province were bracing for a strike that could have occurred as early as Monday.

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