Education

Teachers to start work-to-rule job action next week

Education minister calls NSTU demand ‘costly ask’

NSTU members will begin work -to-rule job action next Monday.
Education Minister Karen Casey answers questions about Monday’s NSTU announcement.   Victoria Walton

Public school teachers across the province will begin work-to-rule job action on Dec. 5, the Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU) announced Monday.

Starting next week, all classroom and specialist teachers, administrators, school psychologists, speech language pathologists and school board consultants will be limiting their duties. The job action will affect 9,300 NSTU members.

“We made the decision because we wanted the government to realize that what we’re doing every day and what’s required of teachers in the classroom is not directly affecting our students,” said NSTU president Liette Doucet.

She said the work-to-rule job action includes the cancellation of extra-curricular activities and field trips. NSTU members will also limit clerical duties, data collection and entry, meeting attendance, and will not arrive early or stay late after the school day.

“We want to have time to prepare instead of using our time to input data and to do assessments for the boards,” Doucet said. “All of those tasks are taking time away from preparation and from one-on-one student instruction.”

This may mean that parents and students will have to change their daily routines, but Doucet said the decision was not made lightly.

“We want to make sure our students are successful,” Doucet said. “It’s important to realize that we want the same things for our students as parents want for their children.”

‘There’s a gap’

This announcement comes after multiple bargaining sessions with the province. At a media conference Monday, Education Minister Karen Casey said she was discouraged when talks broke down last Friday.

“It was our intent to stay as long as we needed to stay; the union walked away from that,” Casey said.

Casey said the NSTU made a “costly ask” of an eight per cent salary increase. “There’s a gap between what the province can afford and what teachers are asking for.”

Because union members will still be working to the letter of their contract, Casey said they likely won’t face repercussions.

“Teachers will still be in the classroom doing instruction with students, but what other effects it might have on the students’ extra-curricular activities remains to be seen,” said Casey. “How and when those can happen without teachers is something that we’ve not worked out at this point.”

Although no dates have been set to return to the table before the job action begins, both the union and the government say they are committed to negotiating a new agreement.

 

 

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