January 20, 2017 3:25 pm
Updated: January 20, 2017 8:58 pm

Nova Scotia teachers end work-to-rule as union, government reach tentative deal

WATCH ABOVE: After nearly two months work-to-rule is being suspended as province and teachers reach a tentative agreement. Alexa MacLean reports.


Work-to-rule is over for students and teachers, as the Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU) and the government have reached a tentative agreement.

NSTU announced Friday that the strike action will be phased out on Monday, which union president Liette Doucet said she will recommend to teachers.

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READ MORE: Talks back on, media blackout in place as NSTU, province head back to table

“We know that this has been a difficult time for teachers, students, parents and families,” Doucet said in a release.

“In reaching this tentative agreement, we are suspending our work-to-rule job action pending the upcoming ratification vote.”

Doucet told reporters Friday afternoon that some work-to-rule affected sports and clubs would be immediately restored, but others will take time.

“It will depend on the school,” Doucet said.

She said things like data collection for teachers could also be phased in and that more information will be provided to superintendents and administrators by the department of education before Monday.

Latest negotiations

Teachers have been working-to-rule since early December, after voting in favour of a strike mandate following the rejection of two tentative agreements.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia businesses feel impact of teachers’ work-to-rule

Both sides have been engaged in the most recent round of negotiations since last week, save for a brief pause when talks broke off briefly Saturday night with the government claiming the union had rejected their offer.

Talks picked up again Sunday, with a media blackout in place for both sides.

Doucet said the tentative agreement had been reached early Wednesday morning and was taken to the provincial executive to evaluate over Thursday and Friday.

WATCH: After more than six weeks of mounting frustration, the labour dispute between teachers and the province is on the verge of being resolved. Global’s Natasha Pace has the details.

She said the union executive would be recommending its members accept the deal.

A ratification vote on this most recent tentative agreement is scheduled for Feb. 8. Until then, no details about the deal will be released, NSTU said.

READ MORE: NS students produce video to shed light on work-to-rule impact

“We know that there were things that students really cared about that they were not able to do anymore. It bothered the teachers, as well, not to do those things,” Doucet said. “However teachers had to take a stand and I believe that students and parents understood that stand – that we were fighting for better education for their students and we would like to thank them wholeheartedly for their support.”

Relief for parents

On hearing the news of the agreement, parent Kate Ervine said she was relieved.

“[I’m] very, very happy to hear it,” said Ervine, who has two elementary school-aged children. “I am invested in their future and I’m invested in the future of the province. If we don’t support it now, it’s only going to get worse, so this is for everybody.”

Ervine was also a steering committee member for the Facebook page “Nova Scotia Parents for Teachers,” a citizen-run group with nearly 20,000 members. She said the group was formed to send a message.

“It also showed the government that hey, it’s not going to be an easy walk in the park, we actually want better for our kids,” Ervine said.

Government response

Education Minister Karen Casey said in a release she was “pleased” the two sides have come to an agreement.

“Both government and the union worked hard to come to this agreement.”

Teachers rejected two previous tentative agreements offered by the province, both of which had been recommended for acceptance by their union.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia teachers’ 16 contract demands and what the province says they cost

Both those contracts would have frozen wages for two years, then have wages increased by three per cent over the final two years. They would also have frozen the long-service award retroactive to 2015.

Teachers have been without a contract since July 31, 2015.

– With files from Sean Previl and Alexa MacLean, Global News

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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