Staff to get 11.08 per cent hike over four years
Board, clerical workers ratify deal
TIM WHITNELL Special to The IFP The Halton District School Board and a union of support staff personnel have ratified a new contract. Both sides held votes on the tentative deal last Wednesday and the result is a new four-year agreement between the board and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) District 20 Halton Office, Clerical and Technical (OCTU) Unit. A 25-hour bargaining session Friday, May 26 produced the new pact for the more than 250 frontline office, clerical and technical staff at elementary and secondary schools and the main board administrative facilities. The OCTU group includes secretaries, library technicians and repair technicians. The new deal calls for 11.08 per cent in compounded raises over the term of the agreement. OCTU members get a two per cent pay increase retroactive to September 2004, a two per cent hike for the current school year, three per cent for 2006-07 and 3.2 per cent in 2007-08. While the deal was accepted unanimously by school board trustees, the executive officer of the OSSTF, who was the chief negotiator for OCTU, said her members weren't as pleased with the offer. "It was ratified by 83 per cent, which is a fair bit lower than most of our contracts," said Sandra Sahli. "The main body (of the union) was not happy with the monetary offer. "We came close to a full walkout or lockout so I give both parties credit for getting it (contract) done," she observed. OCTU instituted an escalating series of job actions that lasted the month of May. Sahli said some of her Halton members were hoping to play "catch-up" in terms of pay, with the goal to have the union's lower paying jobs get increases above what Halton's higher paid elementary and secondary teachers have been getting of late. Instead, Sahli said her members got raises, and improvements to benefits, that are in line with area teachers. Sahli said OCTU members can now "cash out" their unused overtime hours at the end of the school year noting, "It's tough for secretaries, particularly where there is only one at a school, to take lieu time." Halton board executive officer of human resources Dawn BeckettMorton stressed that overtime-- often refereed to as lieu time-- has to be pre-approved by a supervisor.