Talks between N.S. and teachers union resume under media blackout
Contract negotiations between the Nova Scotia Teachers Union and the provincial government resumed Monday.
Union president Liette Doucet said in a statement Sunday that both sides have agreed to a new round of talks under a media blackout.
Education Minister Karen Casey said the negotiations reached an "impasse" Saturday after meeting with a conciliator several times last week.
"We offered solutions on wages and retirement bonus. Unfortunately, this proposal was rejected by the union, " Casey said in a statement to CTV News.
Casey said the union rejected the province's latest contract offer that "attempted" to address concerns about classroom conditions, wages and retirement benefits.
The two sides had a public skirmish last week after Casey raised questions over teachers professional development travel to Hawaii and elsewhere during a work-to-rule campaign.
The union says teachers had been granted permission to travel to conferences, including 11 who went to an education conference last week in Hawaii, before their job action began Dec. 5.
Contract talks had previously collapsed Nov. 25 after the sides agreed to meet with a conciliator.
Nova Scotia Opposition Leader Jamie Baillie doesn’t believe conciliation will work anymore.
"The situation has become so poisoned that they're not able to get an agreement on their own,” Baillie said. “It’s time for the Minister of Labour to appoint a mediator to get to the bottom of this."
The work-to-rule job action is having an impact on many extra-curricular activities, resulting in students finding their own way to play.
"Think about us and try to fix this,” said student Riley Sood. “Right now we're struggling academically not being to get extra help."
Riley’s father, Vivek Sood, says he's happy to see her making it through, but he’s starting to become worried for her future.
“I think people understand the fiscal realities here in the province and also truly understand the value teachers bring,” said Sood. “I think everyone would agree we just want to find a resolution to this.”
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Marie Adsett and The Canadian Press.