Nova Scotia teachers ratify contract with provincial government
New deal will see 7% salary increase over 4 years
Nova Scotia teachers have officially ratified their new contract with the provincial government.
The electronic vote closed Wednesday evening, with 73 per cent of teachers voting 94.2 per cent in favour of the deal.
Paul Wozney, the president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, said the last time they had comparable results was 20 years ago.
"This is a huge shift. The fact that teachers were able to vote confidently, to support a deal with the same government that legislated a contract on them just a few years ago, is a remarkable moment for them," Wozney said Wednesday evening.
"It's a testimony to their solidarity, to their faith in their leadership and we've proven again that good-faith processes help Nova Scotians achieve fair deals for the people of Nova Scotia, for the government and for our teachers."
The NSTU represents the province's roughly 9,300 primary to Grade 12 public school teachers.
The new deal includes a seven per cent salary increase over four years, with a two per cent increase in the first year, retroactive to Aug. 1, 2019.
There will be another two per cent increase in the second year, followed by 1.5 per cent increases in each of the final two years. The new contract will expire on July 31, 2023.
"It might not be what we hope to achieve at the table, but it's a fair deal given where we are fiscally as a province," Wozney said, adding that the seven per cent increase "is money well spent" that will eventually be returned to the communities where teachers live.
"[This deal] is one way that the government can be responsible and stabilize the economy by making sure that public sector workers can be meaningful participants in drivers of economic growth, so the deal has a much bigger ripple other than just what's good for teachers."
Teachers will also receive a 25 per cent increase in marking and preparation time.
Wozney said it's been 50 years since these were increased.
He said the new deal represents a positive shift between teachers and the Nova Scotia government after three tentative deals were voted down in 2017, leading to the unilaterally imposed Bill 75.
That ultimately led to a one-day strike by teachers as thousands of people descended on Province House in protest while the government imposed a contract through legislation.
"The outlier in labour history between teachers and the province was the last round when the government used the legislature as a weapon against the teachers. We will always believe that that wasn't necessary," Wozney said.
"... Aside from that last round, teachers have never failed to ratify and reach a good faith deal with the province of Nova Scotia. That's our history and we're glad to be back to what we know works and helps us all."