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VANCOUVER School board workers have ratified a two-year collective agreement giving them better wages and a breakthrough on First Aid for school children and employees.

For the first time in years, we have reached an agreement without job action or outside assistance, said Chris Merrick, CUPE national representative for Local 15. Members voted 78 per cent to accept the new agreement.

We have also made great strides on First Aid, an issue that has been a longstanding concern for our members, Merrick added. We have agreed to a joint committee review of these provisions.

The review will examine workload issues arising from an employees responsibilities to administer First Aid to the children and other employees. It will also look at the legal obligations and revisit the First Aid manual with an eye to revising it.

Our members want to avoid workload conflicts where a school principal might not be aware of the time needed to give a child First Aid help, Merrick said. There needs to be a clear understanding of the First Aid role.

The employer also agreed to participate in all nine accord items. These deal with a new health and safety bureau, training and retraining issues, a special education needs taskforce and workload for clerical workers.

The agreement gives the workers a 2 per cent wage increase retroactive to January 1, 2001 and another 1 per cent on January 1, 2002. In the second year, they will also get the equivalent of the average increases in the public sector as stated in Industrial Inquiry Commission Report II.

The agreement expires on June 30, 2003. Local 15 represents about 1,000 school board workers.

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Contact:
Chris Merrick, CUPE National Representative,
(604) 291-1940.