March 16, 2017 7:25 pm

‘That is devastating’: Sask. educational support worker worried about potential pay cut

Jackie Christianson delivers the postcards to NDP education critic Carla Beck.

Tyler Pidludny/Global News

Postcards from hundreds of people across the province were delivered to the legislature on Thursday from people worried about what the upcoming budget means for educational support workers.

The cards were first delivered to NDP education critic Carla Beck, who is expected to submit then to Education Minister Don Morgan.

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“The parents were concerned by the funding cuts from last year, and were further concerned about the transformational changes and the government announcing a 3.5 per cent reduction in wages,” Jackie Christianson, CUPE education steering committee chair, said.

Christianson said she delivered the postcards on behalf of educational assistants, administrative assistants, bus drivers, caretakers, and other support staff.

CUPE has been collecting the postcards since September.

“I just want to give you a glimpse of what some educational support workers make, $22,000 a year. You take three and a half per cent of that. That is devastating. That is wrong,” she said.

“That would be for an educational assistant in a rural community.”

Christianson added that many support workers have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet, and stay with the schools for the kids.

Morgan said that he understands the concern. He added that negotiations with CUPE on the potential 3.5 per cent compensation reduction will have to happen at the bargaining table.

Morgan, who is also labour relations minister, said that the 3.5 per cent reduction doesn’t necessarily means everyone takes the same reduction. That figure is the goal for the reduction across the entire public sector.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean teachers, or this, or that. That means the overall cost. Whether it be by attrition or by administration folks, it’s going to be a challenge for us,” Morgan said.

“In regard to the CUPE workers that’s something we want to resolve at the bargaining table.”

More information regarding what transformational change in education will look like is expected to be released on March 22 alongside the provincial budget.

Dan Perrins released his report of recommendations for change in education in December.

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