'It affects the entire class': Parents rally support for striking Saanich school staff
Published Saturday, November 2, 2019 6:26PM PDT Last Updated Saturday, November 2, 2019 7:26PM PDT
VANCOUVER - A group of parents in Saanich is growing impatient with the strike that has shut down all of the schools in the district for the last week.
Now, the parents are planning to add pressure to the negotiations between the Saanich School District and the union representing its support staff, which resumed Friday.
A Facebook event asks parents to come together in support of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 411 workers by joining their picket line next Friday, Nov. 8.
Organizers have also started an online petition calling for wage parity between Saanich support workers and those in neighbouring districts, who are often paid significantly higher wages. More than 700 people have signed the petition so far.
"A lot of people want them to meet in the middle and I understand that," said Ashley Martin, a Saanich parent who is planning on joining the picket line. "But what's going to happen if they meet in the middle is that there will be wiggle room and we will still lose to districts that are paying higher."
Martin said she has been struggling to deal with the school closures for the last week like other parents, but she feels it's important to ensure that education assistants want to work in Saanich.
"What some people may not understand is that we only get EAs when there is a child who needs an EA, so in the case where we have three EA positions available, there are three kids struggling and a teacher who is struggling," Martin said. "It affects the entire class. It affects not only the kids who need the support, but it affects the education of the whole classroom."