HALIFAX -- The Nova Scotia government has reached a tentative contract with the province's 9,000 public school teachers.
The government issued a statement Thursday saying the Nova Scotia Teachers Union plans to present details of the agreement to its members on Nov. 17-18.
"We're pleased a tentative agreement has been reached with the NSTU," Premier Stephen McNeil said in the statement. "I encourage other bargaining units to come to the table to continue collective bargaining."
The news came as the provincial legislature wrapped up the first day of its fall sitting, which was expected to largely focus on thorny labour issues.
Despite ongoing contract talks, the head of Nova Scotia's largest public sector union has said she believes the Liberal government is laying the groundwork for a legislated wage settlement to be imposed -- a strategy that McNeil has publicly rejected.
Joan Jessome, president of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, said she was responding to how the premier recently dealt with contract talks involving Maritime Resident Doctors, a union that represents medical residents. As the time, McNeil said that in seeking arbitration early in the process the medical residents were bargaining in bad faith.
Jessome said the premier's comments were calculated to intimidate other unions.
The NSGEU is currently negotiating for 7,600 civil servants including clerical, corrections and social workers.
However, Jessome said it's tough to negotiate because the government has set pre-determined conditions.
In August, the government said it wanted five-year deals with no increases in the first three years and increases of one per cent in each of the final two years. Within that framework the unions can suggest ways to find program savings that can be used for wage increases.
The cash-strapped government has said even a one per cent increase in public sector salaries would add $52 million a year to expenses.
The most recent contract with the teachers expired July 31.
The government said details of the teachers deal will not be released until the agreement is voted on by union members. A vote is scheduled for Dec. 1.