Nova Scotia’s 9,300 public school teachers have voted to reject a third tentative agreement reached between the Nova Scotia Teachers Union and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development since the opening of negotiations on September 29, 2015.
In a province-wide electronic vote held Thursday, more than 100 per cent of NSTU’s public school members voted 78.5 per cent against the tentative deal. Substitute teachers working today were eligible to vote, bringing the total vote count over 100 per cent.
“Public school teachers have spoken once again in rejecting this tentative agreement,” says NSTU president Liette Doucet.
“It’s clear our members are frustrated, they deserve better and what government offered in this agreement doesn’t go far enough in addressing the real classroom concerns that affect
teachers and students.”
As far as next steps, Doucet says, “We do know that our work-to-rule job action will continue. What we don’t know is what government’s next move will be. We don’t know if they will agree to go back to the negotiating table, if they will legislate a contract, change the terms and conditions of employment or lock us out.” She adds that the provincial executive will be meeting to discuss any other options available.
Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen Casey issued the following statement following the vote: “The outcome of today’s union vote is disappointing for students, parents, and government. This was the third tentative agreement reached with the union leadership and it was reached after an intense and productive period of bargaining.
“This agreement provided a fair wage offer and showed we were willing to make further investments in classrooms. The agreement contained $20 million that we could invest to improve classroom conditions and it gave teachers a say in how that money would be invested.
“I want to assure parents and guardians that their child’s education is a priority for government.”
Casey said government will now take time to consider the next step.
The current teachers’ contract expired on July 31, 2015. Public school members have been in a legal strike position since December 5, after voting 96 per cent in favour of strike action.
The current work-to-rule job action continues.