Gawronsky Calls on Premier and Minister to pay education support staff during school closure
“The government needs to give a clear directive to all school divisions that staff will not be laid off and we are calling on the Education Minister to provide this directive immediately.” - Michelle Gawronsky
Mar 31, 2020Today, the Premier and the Minister of Education announced they are indefinitely closing schools for the remainder of the school year due to the threat of COVID-19.
The Minister stopped short of putting an end to the school year outright, saying, "If, prior to the regularly scheduled conclusion of the school year the public health officer determines that it is safe to reopen our schools, then we would eagerly welcome our students back.”
But rather than take the next step to provide some certainty to those who work in Manitoba’s schools, the Premier and the Minister effectively passed the buck onto school divisions to determine if thousands of school support staff in the province would continue to be paid during the closure.
“These workers and their families are worried about their health and safety and paying the bills,” said MGEU President, Michelle Gawronsky. “The government needs to give a clear directive to all school divisions that staff will not be laid off and we are calling on the Education Minister to provide this directive immediately.”
Gawronsky emailed a letter to the Minister today, urging him to provide some direction and reassure those working in education.
“Suspending classroom learning for the year is hard for everyone – teachers, students, and their families, along with school support staff. These are unprecedented times, and now is not the time to create even more fear and anxiety... We are calling on you to immediately issue a clear directive to reassure all support staff in all school divisions that they will not be laid off and they will continue to have a full pay cheque during this very challenging time,” wrote Gawronsky to the Minister.
The MGEU has also been a vocal and public advocate for the Province to top-up Federal EI benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.