Eighteen Saanich schools will remain closed Monday as striking support workers and the school district continue to try and hammer out a deal.
The schools were closed last week after 500 education assistants, technical support staff, library technicians, family counsellors, custodial and maintenance staff walked off the job last Monday.
The two sides returned to the bargaining table Friday, where they have remained throughout the weekend.
“Our singular goal continues to be to find a settlement with CUPE 441 as quickly as possible so that our schools can re-open,” the Saanich School District said in a statement Sunday while announcing Monday’s closures.
Striking workers say they’re paid less than their counterparts in neighbouring school districts, a differential that ranges from 30 cents to $4 per hour.
The differential exists because the union opted for better benefits decades ago, according to the district. Those benefits have since been put in line with all other school districts in B.C.
But the union says the existing wage difference is causing problems in recruiting and retaining staff.
The district has maintained that it has offered everything it can amid the province’s public sector wage cap of two per cent increase per year.
The teachers’ union has been respecting the CUPE picket line, leaving the parents of the districts’ 7,300 students scrambling to sort out childcare.