CUPE raise to come out of local budget

Qualicum district treasurer says it will be a struggle to pay for this, especially considering the district already has a $1.3 M deficit

Although CUPE workers have reached a tentative agreement with the province, local president of the union Lisa Paine isn’t entirely happy.

“It concerns my members . . .  the government is (saying) the K to 12 cost savings to fund the increase must come from existing school board budgets,” Paine said at the regular school board meeting Tuesday night.

The agreement provides CUPE members with a 3.5 per cent wage increase which will be staggered throughout the year. That will cost the local school district $220,000 this fiscal year, on top of the current deficit of $1.3 million. The wage increase will cost the district $385,000 next year.

Secretary Treasurer Erica Bailey said it’s going to be a struggle to come up with the money.

“We have to work with the ministry to prepare a savings plan and that has to be approved by the treasury branch,” she said. “Right now we are looking at options and ideas to see how we will come up with that money, but I don’t have an answer for you at this point.”

Paine said the agreement also garnered CUPE members a pay-direct drug card for up-front drug expenses.