NSTU, government meet after union members vote for strike mandate
Published Thursday, February 22, 2018 7:11PM AST
Last Updated Thursday, February 22, 2018 7:16PM AST
The president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union met with the province’s education minister Thursday, the day after union members voted overwhelming in favour of illegal job action.
Liette Doucet told Steve Murphy on CTV News at 6 she met with Zach Churchill to discuss intended education reforms.
"Communication lines are open and we are planning to meet again,” Doucet said. “I would like to see (Churchill) and the premier have a look at this report, realize that we really need to step back, we need to focus on it, we need to look at the data, how it was collected, how it was used, and we really have to analyze other areas and how these things worked there."
On Wednesday, Doucet said 93 per cent of the union's membership participated in a vote, with 82.5 per cent voting in favour of authorizing an illegal strike or some other job action.
"The teachers of Nova Scotia sent a very powerful message and provided us with a very strong strike mandate," Doucet told reporters gathered outside the union's headquarters Wednesday.
Despite that, Churchill said government still plans to go ahead with recommendations from the Glaze report, which recommends dissolving the province’s seven school boards and moving principals and vice-principals out of the union.
“So far they've only asked for a pause, and in my opinion that's only intended to prevent these reforms from happening,” Churchill said.
Students and staff at the privately-run Munro Academy, just outside Sydney, say the number of students in their school has been steadilyincreasing. But they’re not sure if that’s because of the labour disputes.
“This year we actually have 112, I believe. We actually doubled in numbers from last year,” said vice-principal Stephen Fenton.
Teachers at the Academy are not members of the NSTU. But many at the school say they’ve been keeping an eye on the developments from afar.
“I'm glad I come here and I don't have to deal with that stuff. I can just focus on my education and not all the noise from everything else,” said Grade 11 student Mary-Jane Jones.
“I actually have quite a few friends who are in the public school system, and what I hear from them is they have huge class sizes and they don't get much one-on-one,” said Grade 11 student Anna Ritter.
The union says that’s a problem that needs to be addressed. They’ve agreed to keep Thursday’s discussions with the education minister confidential and say there are plans to meet with the premier soon.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.