Newspaper article The Canadian Press

N.S. Teachers Union Gets Strong Strike Mandate, but Says No Immediate Action

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

N.S. Teachers Union Gets Strong Strike Mandate, but Says No Immediate Action

Article excerpt

Teachers union gets strong strike mandate

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HALIFAX - Nova Scotia's public school teachers have given their union a strong mandate to authorize an "illegal job action" over pending education reforms, the head of the province's teachers union said Wednesday.

Liette Doucet said 93 per cent of the union's membership participated in a vote Tuesday, and 82.5 per cent voted in favour of authorizing an illegal strike or some other job action.

No job action is imminent, however, she said.

"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 in Halifax.

"They are so concerned for their students and the future of education in this province that they are willing to accept hardship in hopes that it will demonstrate to the government that the way forward is through meaningful consultation."

The union called the strike vote last week to protest the province's decision to largely endorse a consultant's report recommending education reforms, including the removal of 1,000 principals, vice-principals and supervisors from the union.

The report by consultant Avis Glaze makes 22 recommendations, including eliminating the province's seven English-language school boards and creating a provincial college of educators to license and regulate the profession.

Doucet said the union wants Premier Stephen McNeil and Education Minister Zach Churchill to hold talks with teachers on proposed education reforms before passing any legislation.

"Today, instead of announcing when job action will take place, the NSTU is inviting government to work with us," Doucet said. "We are willing to do whatever it takes to protect the future of public education in Nova Scotia."

Churchill said both he and McNeil were interested in having further discussions and he said a letter would be sent to the union to ask for a meeting as soon as possible.

But Churchill noted that in previous discussions with Doucet, the only suggestion that was brought forward was a pause to the reforms. …

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