Frustrated teachers make pitch for conciliation
Finance Minister Charlene Johnson says government still committed to bargaining process
The Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association is looking for conciliation after months of contract talks with the government negotiating team that the union claims has no actual authority.
NLTA president Jim Dinn would not comment to CBC News on what the government is looking for, but he said it involves concessions.
"All I can say is that the issue will not be putting any money in teacher's pockets," he said.
"There's no formal proposal on salaries," he said, adding "that the major concessions that they are seeking will impact teachers and students."
Teachers have been working without a contract for more than a year and a half.
It seems their negotiating team has not been given the leeway to actually negotiate in a full capacity- Jim Dinn
Dinn said that during contract talks last month someone who was not in the bargaining room was calling the shots on the government side.
"It's frustration when we meet with the other side, in that it seems their negotiating team has not been given the leeway to actually negotiate in a full capacity," Dinn said.
In a statement, Finance Minister Charlene Johnson, who is also the president of the Treasury Board, said the government is "committed to a productive and successful collective bargaining process" with the NLTA.
"The process is ongoing," Johnson said. "The NLTA has decided to seek assistance through conciliation, which is not uncommon in the course of collective bargaining. While these processes are ongoing, we will not be commenting on any specific collective bargaining issues."
Johnson added that the government has recently negotiated collective agreements with most of its public sector employees, including those represented by NAPE, CUPE, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Association and the Association of Allied Health Professionals.
The NAPE and CUPE deals reached last fall cover a four-year period ending in 2016. The contracts include a wage freeze for the first two years, and raises worth five per cent over the final two years.