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The locked-out teachers of the St-Paul-de-Varennes College, near Montreal, received some good news this week when a court ordered their employer to pay them their summer salaries.

The teachers, members of CUPE 1707, have been locked out since July 17 over a contract dispute. The employer claimed the lock-out meant that no wages are owed.

A standard work period for teachers is generally from the end of August to the end of June. However, their salary is spread out evenly over 12 months in bi-weekly instalments. The judge found that the employer could not legally withhold the teachers’ summer paycheques because, in essence, the payment was for work already done before the lockout began. The school appealed the decision, but another judge turned them down and ordered the employer to pay up.

“We’re pleased that common sense has prevailed,” said CUPE National representative Julie Handfield. “Our members worked for that money and it was unfair of the employer to try to deprive them of it. Management wanted to punish us, but it won’t work. Let’s hope that the college will understand that these tactics go nowhere and only end up costing the parents. We still want to reach a reasonable agreement that will ensure a dynamic, motivating workplace to provide the students with quality services.”