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CUPE Local 964 workers and supporters at a rally for school support staff in Yarmouth on April 15, 2023 (Acadia News Photo)

School support staff rally as strike deadline looms

By Kevin Northup Apr 17, 2023 | 6:37 AM

School support staff were out in full-force, as a potential strike approaches.

The CUPE groups held information rallies in several areas across the province over the weekend.

They include bus drivers, custodians, maintenance workers and many more.

Bus driver Andrew Weaver is the Strike Coordinator for CUPE Local 964 in Tri-County.

He says they need a fair pay increase across the board.

“We’ve had years gone by of zero increases, we’re usually a couple of years behind in our contract, and the last two years, we’ve had no contract,” said Weaver.

Weaver says there is a shortage of bus drivers and custodians, and that likely has to do with wages.

The workers will be in a legal strike position this Friday.

Weaver is hoping for a lot of support from families.

“We’re not asking for much, just a living wage as we deal with inflation and the rising cost of living. We are in the areas where your children are, we are the people that transport them to and from school, we are the first smile they see in the morning, and we keep their learning areas clean.”

He adds they are hopeful something can come together before this Friday.

Before the weekend, Education Minister Becky Druhan told Acadia News that she remains optimistic a deal can get done.

She says the latest offers from government include a path to wage equity across the board.

Druhan assures that each region is preparing a contingency plan to address potential labour disruptions.

In the Tri-County Regional Centre for Education, students in middle and high school would switch to online learning.

No busses would be running for elementary students, but those schools would remain open.

Any sports or activities that require the use of the school or busses would be suspended, but any sports on fields or grounds could still go ahead.


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