Nova Scotia

Strikes by Annapolis Valley, South Shore school support workers end following approval of new contracts

Striking school support workers with the Annapolis Valley Regional Centre for Education and the South Shore Regional Centre for Education have voted to accept a new tentative agreement and will return to work.

Striking workers overwhelmingly accepted new tentative agreements promising wage parity

Members of NSGEU Local 73 representing educational assistants, early childhood educators and other school support staff in the Annapolis Valley voted to accept a tentative agreement Tuesday. (Jane Sponagle/CBC)

School support workers with the  Annapolis Valley Regional Centre for Education (AVRCE) and the South Shore Regional Centre for Education (SSRCE) will return to work this week after voting to accept new tentative agreements.

More than 600 AVRCE workers, who are part of Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU) Local 73, had been on strike since Oct. 24 demanding wage parity with workers in other parts of the province. Local 70, which includes more than 160 SSRCE workers, had been on strike since Oct. 25 with similar demands.

A release from the AVRCE union late Sunday evening said an agreement had been reached after two days of talks and members would vote on the offer on Tuesday. The SSRCE union issued a release Wednesday that South Shore School Support workers ratified their agreement and that their strike is over.

A news release from the NSGEU on Tuesday said the ACRCE vote was 92.3 per cent in favour of accepting the agreement. The release said support workers will be "levelled up to the highest rate of pay"  for their positions in the province during the life of the agreement which is retroactive to April 1, 2021, and runs until March 31, 2024.

The NSGEU said on Wednesday the 98 per cent of SSRCE workers voted to accept the new tentative agreement. The agreement includes "wage parity with workers doing the same job elsewhere in the province."

Union president Sandra Mullen described the agreement on wage parity as "long-overdue" and an "important breakthrough."

"The current government not only allowed the bargaining process to unfold as it should — without legislative interference tipping the scales — but they have agreed to the principle of parity and fairness for these workers," Mullen said in the release.

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