Efforts to negotiate between the New Brunswick government and members of the Canadian Public Service Union (CUPE)’s local unions took a new turn on Sunday.
The government prompted the move early in the day for local non-designated staff at 1253 and 2745, which included cleaners, bus drivers, school library assistants, administrative assistants and many other assistants.
“The CUPE is unpredictable across the province, which has created an unstable climate for teachers, students and parents,” the Minister of Education and Development said in a statement.
The government said all schools in the province would switch to distance education on Monday until the end of the strike.
“This is clearly a government move to divide the CUPE and create chaos. Premier Hicks can end the strike by paying fair wages to public sector workers, ”the union said in a statement.
Several picketing rallies were organized across the province on Sunday, including Moncton, Edmundston and Fredericton, while negotiations between the union and the government broke down on Wednesday.
Most locals have been waiting for new collective agreements for more than four years, CUPE said. The union is demanding a 3% annual wage increase for the four-year contract, while the government has put on the table a plan of 2% per annum for five years.
Hospitals were also affected
The strike also affected Montgomery, St John’s and Campbellton hospitals on Sunday, and areas targeted by cut-off operations against Govt-19.
“CUPE continues to be unpredictable when it comes to ignoring the health and safety of New Brunswicks and our already troubled health care system,” said Premier Plane Hicks.
Throughout the strike, the government said patients across the provincial health system could wait longer.
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