N.S. teachers begin phasing out work-to-rule after reaching tentative deal with province
The Canadian Press
Published Monday, January 23, 2017 7:41AM AST
Last Updated Monday, January 23, 2017 7:35PM AST
The Nova Scotia Teachers Union began phasing out its work-to-rule campaign Monday after reaching a tentative agreement with the provincial government last week.
Neither side would reveal details of the deal, which will be put to a ratification vote on Feb. 8.Union leaders are recommending members accept the agreement.
The 9,300 teachers have twice rejected agreements recommended by the union executive, and voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike.
“I'm optimistic that members will see some changes this time, and will be happy with the changes,” said Nova Scotia Teachers Union President Liette Doucet.
The deal will be presented to members at meetings around the province over the next two weeks.
The teachers began a work-to-rule campaign on Dec. 5 which cancelled extracurricular activities like shows, trips and sports.
The union acknowledges a new contract may usher in a new normal. Some parts of work-to-rule, they say, were a welcome relief for teachers.
“I've heard from a lot of teachers that they've rediscovered their work-life balance, and that they're going to be very careful with how they re-implement what they had been doing and maybe try to do things differently,” Doucet said.
The union edict stipulated teachers should only report for work 20 minutes before class started and leave 20 minutes after the school day ends.
The teachers' last contract expired on July 31, 2015.
Many parents, students and children say they’re just looking forward to things getting back to normal.
“I'm happy it's over,” said Grade 10 student Noah Hebb. “It's nice so I can get extra help now.”
“I'm hopeful. It's been hard on teachers, parents, children, especially the high school kids,” said parent Matt Clark.
Some extracurriculars have already started back up. At Dartmouth High School, student council is making plans for this year's prom.
“I have my council back, everything like extracurriculars, extra help is coming back so I'm glad to be starting off a new semester with extra help,” said Grade 12 student Claire Bragg.
For many, the extra help sessions come a little too late for this semester's exams, which start Tuesday. High school report cards are a top priority for teachers, who now have a backlog of marking to complete.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Sarah Ritchie and The Canadian Press.