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Striking education workers with the Lakeshore School Division in Manitoba ratified an agreement Thursday that provides for average increases of 9.25 per cent, almost double the board’s original offer.

The two-week old strike involved more than 100 education workers, members of Local 3206. It had been three years since the last wage hike and Lakeshore workers had fallen behind neighbouring boards.

The contract is retroactive to January 1998, with a two per cent hike from January, a further two per cent on signing, and two per cent increases in both 1999 and 2000. As well, there were significant wage adjustments for teacher assistants and librarians and smaller adjustments for caretakers and custodians. The contracting out language was protected and other improvements were made.

“We’ve always said what we were looking for was a step in the right direction and we believe we’ve achieved that,” said Local president Roberta Stocki. “With this contract, we begin to make up some of the ground we lost and help people who support a quality public education system earn a living wage.

“It’s never easy to go on strike, but we achieved a reasonable contract for the first time in a long time.”