Nova Scotia’s teachers vote to reject third contract offer

With union’s job action set to resume, Nova Scotia Liberals say they’re prepared to force settlement through legislation

HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s 9,300 public school teachers have voted to reject a tentative contract deal endorsed by their union executive.

With 100 per cent of the union’s membership taking part, 78.5 per cent voted against the deal Thursday.

“Public school teachers have spoken once again in rejecting this tentative agreement,” union president Liette Doucet said in a statement. “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.”

The Nova Scotia Teachers Union had rejected two earlier proposed deals, and voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike.

The teachers also resumed a work-to-rule campaign late last month after Premier Stephen McNeil said two extra days off mentioned in an earlier contract offer were to be used for marking and class preparation.

Doucet confirmed the union’s job action will resume.

“What we don’t know is what the government’s next move will be,” she said. “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.”

Earlier in the day, Education Minister Karen Casey wouldn’t comment when asked what the government would do if the deal was rejected. However, the Liberal government has said it is prepared to impose a settlement through legislation.

The teachers’ most recent contract expired July 31, 2015 and negotiations started on Sept. 29, 2015. The teachers have been in a legal strike position since Dec. 5, after voting 96 per cent in favour of strike action.

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