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Nanaimo district concludes bargaining with support workers

Nanaimo school district has reached a tentative agreement with its support workers for a new contract that expires at the end of the school year.

The district and CUPE Local 606 signed a memorandum of agreement that will allow the two parties to take advantage of the provincial framework agreement reached Dec. 15 between the B.C. Public School Employers' Association and support staff unions.

The union and district representatives have met for the past year.

Both parties have until Feb. 29 to conclude bargaining and ratify the collective agreement to include the provincial framework in the local deal.

The contract, which covers from July 1, 2010 to June 30 of this year, must still be submitted to the school board and CUPE Local 606 membership for ratification and details will not be released until it is approved.

The provincial agreement does not include any wage or benefit increases, but does include money for more education assistant hours in classrooms.

The province will allocate $7.5 million per year for more education assistant time, to come out of its class-organization fund, a pot of money the province has set aside to deal with complex classroom issues. The money translates into about 45 minutes of extra paid time per week for each eligible worker.

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