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Last updated: Monday 31 January 2000 NATIONAL NEWS

Computer glitch leads to unpaid Toronto public school employees

TORONTO (CP) - A malfunctioning computer system has led to thousands of Toronto public school employees working without pay or only partial pay since the beginning of the year.

The Toronto District School Board employees - who include caretakers, secretaries, educational assistants, board clerical staff and English-as-a-second language instructors - have been told they may have to wait until mid-February until their wages are sorted out.

"It's an absolute nightmare," said Steve Lillico, spokesman for Local 4400 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents 14,000 non-teaching staff.

"We have hundreds of members whose cheques are bouncing, who can't make their rent or put food on the table."

While hundreds of employees weren't paid, those who did received only about 65 per cent of their pay cheques.

Rod Thompson, the school board's executive officer of human resources, said the board hopes to have the system fixed before Feb.4 - when the next biweekly pay cheques are due.

The union launched a grievance Jan. 18, after receiving hundreds of complaints.

Non-teaching staff earn, on average, $35,000 per year, said board chairwoman Gail Nyberg. The lowest paid are lunchroom supervisors who make less than $10,000 per year, while department managers are at the top of the pay scale, earning up to $60,000 per year.

Thompson said the computer glitch is due to the recent amalgamation of boards, with the merging of six payroll departments into one.

(Toronto Star)">

-- Martin Thompson (, January 31, 2000

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