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Nova Scotia Teachers Union ratifies contract that focuses on student outcomes, supporting teachers

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Members of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU) have ratified a tentative agreement with the province.

Last month, Premier Tim Houston announced the province reached an agreement in principle with the union shortly after 98 per cent of its more than 10,000 members voted in favour of a strike mandate.

In a provincewide electronic vote held Wednesday, 91 per cent of the members voted 80.5 per cent in favour of the deal.

“This agreement contains several important gains for teachers, and while it doesn’t address all the challenges our schools are facing, it is a fair agreement that serves as a solid stepping stone to future progress,” says NSTU president Ryan Lutes.

“This would not have been possible without the strength and solidarity members demonstrated when they provided the bargaining team with an overwhelming strike mandate earlier this spring.”

NSTU's news release says, when compound interest is factored in, the contract gives teachers a salary increase of 11.47 per cent over three years retroactive to Aug. 1, 2023.

The release says substitute teachers will also be receiving an additional 12 per cent salary increase and now require eight fewer consecutive days to qualify as a full-time teacher.

According to Lutes, this will help address the teacher shortage.

“More work needs to be done to fix the retention and recruitment crisis facing our public schools, but providing substitutes with a more competitive salary is a step in the right direction. We look forward to continuing to work with government on solutions to eliminating the teacher shortage moving forward,” says Lutes.

The agreement also includes an increase to the amount of time teachers are given for marking and preparation.

Starting Aug. 1, teachers will have a minimum of 15 per cent of instructional time for marking and preparation averaged over each semester/term.

Under the new agreement, the number of school counsellors across the province will also increase and the province has guaranteed that neither class sizes nor the instructional day will grow under this contract.

"The NSTU will continue the ongoing work of the Safe and Inclusive School’s Committee with the province to address the issue of school violence," reads the release.

A news release from the provincial government says the new agreement is about an investment in students and student outcomes, as well as supports teachers across the province.

“Students are at the core of our education system, a fact I truly feel is recognized by the agreement we’ve successfully negotiated with the NSTU,” said Becky Druhan, minister of Education and Early Childhood Development.

“We’ve heard from teachers about how to improve classroom conditions and outcomes and are acting on a shared commitment to create great learning and great working environments, both through this new agreement and through ongoing work at the departmental, regional and school levels.”

The previous teachers' contract expired on July 31. The province and the NSTU engaged in collective bargaining for approximately 10 months and also required the assistance of a conciliator.

The province says the new agreement will be posted online in the coming days.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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