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Talks between striking support workers, Saanich School District break down: Union

Saanich schools support workers contract talks break off
WATCH: Saanich schools support workers contract talks break off

Talks between striking school support workers and the Saanich School District have broken down again.

An estimated 7,300 students at 18 schools have been out of class since last Monday, when the 500 members of CUPE Local 441 walked off the job.

“I am disappointed that we did not reach an agreement that the bargaining committee felt they could recommend to members,” said CUPE 441 president Dean Coates in a statement Wednesday.

READ MORE: Striking Saanich school support workers, employer back at the bargaining table

“Our efforts to be creative and move toward the employer’s position were not reciprocated and the employer would not add any additional funding.”

Thousands of Saanich students out of class
Thousands of Saanich students out of class

Coates said the local would not discuss the details of what was offered until the package was put to striking members for their direction.

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The Saanich School District took the unusual step of publishing its latest offer in full on its website Wednesday afternoon.

“The Employer has tabled an offer applying the maximum funding available within the funding approved for local bargaining consistent with all K-12 school districts across the province,” said the district.

” It represents an increase in wages to all support staff above the base six per cent over three years. ¬†Our staff who have the lowest wages relative to our neighbours are being offered up to 12.8 per cent over that same time period.”

READ MORE: 18 Saanich schools to be closed Monday as support workers take strike action

CUPE 441 represents education assistants, technical support staff, library technicians, family counsellors, custodial and maintenance staff and others.

Saanich schools closed for second straight day
Saanich schools closed for second straight day

It argues striking workers are paid between 30 cents to $4 less than their counterparts in neighbouring districts.

The differential exists because the union opted for better benefits decades ago, according to the district.