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BIGGAR: Striking school support workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees say the Biggar Public School Division is prolonging the labour dispute by expanding the recruitment of scabs.

The Division Board has been using scabs to replace our caretakers since the beginning of the strike eleven weeks ago, says Bill Robb, staff representative for CUPE Local 2128. Now they have started using scabs at the Cando School as teacher assistants working with children. Have they done security checks on these scabs? What are their qualifications?

Robb says the support workers appreciate that many local teachers have respected a protocol that was established with the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation. The teaching and library assistants, secretaries and caretakers received a commitment in a January 29 letter from STF President Wayne Clements and General Secretary Derwyn Crozier-Smith that teachers would not perform the work of support staff in the event of a strike.

However, the CUPE local says some local members of the STF are not living up to this agreement. The union says the principal and a STF member at the Cando School are using their own vehicles to transport scabs, retired teachers are working as teaching assistants and some STF members are using students to assist them in the classroom.

Our local membership, their co-workers, have been more than patient with the lack of commitment by some of the local STF members to stand by the mandate set out by the STF President and General Secretary, says Robb.

The 46 support workers have been on strike since February 4, after rejecting an offer from the employer, which would have gutted seniority rights, job security and other contract provisions.

This strike would have been over right away if we had anti-scab legislation in this province like Quebec and B.C. have, says Penny McCallum, a striking teaching assistant. Instead of negotiating a fair agreement, this Division Board has used scabs to prolong the strike, which has damaged our communities by causing unnecessary conflict and strife.

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For more information contact
Penny McCallum at Strike Headquarters in Biggar at
948-3860 or
Bill Robb at 222-5594