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Ontario is proposing to give education workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees who make less than $40,000 a two-per-cent raise per year.

For workers who earn over that amount, the government proposes giving them raises of 1.25 per cent each year of a four-year deal.

CUPE – which represents 55,000 workers including early childhood educators, school administration workers, bus drivers and custodians – has published the government’s first offer to them in contract negotiations.

Deals for the five major education unions expire Aug. 31 and the terms of the first deal struck in a round of bargaining often set the standard for the rest.

CUPE has asked the province for annual wage increases of 11.7 per cent – or $3.25 per hour – arguing workers’ wages have been restricted over the last decade and inflation is expected to rise further.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce says in a statement that the government’s proposal is reasonable, fair and provides stability.

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