The Nova Scotia government is asking for a conciliator to file a report in its contract dispute with the province’s public school teachers.
In a news release issued late Wednesday the province said the bargaining process with the Nova Scotia Teachers Union had “run its course.”
“Of course, we are disappointed with this,” said Education Minister Karen Casey.
Casey said the government had worked hard with the union to reach two different collective agreements – both of which were decisively rejected by the union’s membership.
“At the bargaining table, we reached two tentative agreements that provided wage increases and took steps to address working conditions,” Casey said.
The government move came after the union said it had scheduled a strike vote for Oct. 25.
“Executive members were unanimous in recommending that all eligible public school teachers vote in favour of strike action,” union president Liette Doucet said in a statement.
Earlier this month, about 70 per cent of union members voted down the deal, with a 94 per cent turnout. The teachers also rejected an earlier, tentative settlement in a vote last November by a 61 per cent margin.
In both votes, the executive had recommended its members accept the contract.
“With a second tentative agreement rejection, we have opted to ask members for a strong strike mandate,” said Doucet
The union planned information meetings for its members early next week.
The union represents more than 10,000 public school teachers, community college faculty and support staff. It says it hasn’t asked for a strike mandate in 14 years.
The provincial government has said it has already put additional funding into education and it plans to stick with a fiscal plan that will allows it to continue investing in public education.