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(Sydney) CUPE Local 5050 has responded to a request from the Cape Breton-Victoria School Board to use binding arbitration to end their dispute.

CUPE National Representative Kathy MacLeod says, Our members have made it crystal clear to us that this strike will only be resolved when we achieve a mechanism for wage parity.

At this point, we agree with the Board that we need a third party to help solve this dispute but its not an arbitrator, its the provincial government.

Having said that, however, we are ready to go back to the bargaining table tomorrow morning (April 19), to meet with the Board and the provincial government to negotiate a mechanism for achieving wage parity.

If that process fails, says MacLeod, we are prepared to meet with the Board and the province to discuss the particulars of binding arbitration on all outstanding monetary issues, including a mechanism for achieving wage parity.

To entertain binding arbitration without a commitment from the province to achieving that mechanism would be pure folly on our part, says MacLeod.

How long it takes to achieve wage parity and what the mechanism will look like, is what needs to be bargained at the table with the Board and the province.

This strike could be settled tomorrow if that process is put in place, says MacLeod.

For information:

Kathy MacLeod, CUPE National Rep. - 578-3304 (Cell)

John McCracken, CUPE Communications Rep. - (902) 455-4180 (o)