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Support workers in the Biggar Public School Division in Saskatchewan have unanimously approved a tentative agreement bringing an end to a bitter six and a half month strike.

The 46 teaching and library assistants, caretakers and secretaries voted to approve the agreement at a ratification meeting held August 21.

“The hard work, determination, and perseverance of our members and bargaining committee have enabled us to achieved our bargaining objectives and to protect our seniority rights and job security,” said Marian Kimber, president of CUPE 2128.

The new contract includes a wage increase of 12.5 per cent over the four-year term of the agreement, which covers the period January 2001 to December 2004. In addition, the contract will reclassify secretaries, teaching and library assistants to higher pay grades, which will result in a total wage increase of 22.8 per cent for these classifications over four years.

The support workers will receive an additional 1.5 per cent for enhancements to the dental plan and a new extended health package.

“Our union wishes to express our deepest, heartfelt gratitude to all the individuals and unions throughout our province and across the country that have supported us throughout this six and a half month strike,” said Kimber. “We wouldn’t have been able to achieve this fair collective agreement without their support.”

“We are looking forward to returning to our jobs, and serving our students, schools, and communities.”