Work-to-rule to end Monday as teachers, province reach tentative agreement

The Nova Scotia Teachers Union and provincial government have reached a tentative contract agreement.

Nova Scotia's 9,300 public school teachers have rejected two previous contract offers

Teachers union president Liette Doucet said it would be up to members to decide if the new agreement is good enough. (Pat Callaghan/CBC)

The work-to-rule campaign by teachers will be suspended beginning Monday after the Nova Scotia Teachers Union and the provincial government reached a tentative contract agreement.

The deal was announced Friday afternoon and comes after the most recent round of talks, which resumed last week.

Union president Liette Doucet told reporters the deal was reached Wednesday morning and the provincial executive spent two days evaluating it; they are recommending it to members.

Job action suspended

Doucet said the current work-to-rule job action will be suspended, but details of how that will work will depend on individual schools. Some school sports and clubs will return immediately, but others won't. 

"It will depend on the school," she said.

"We know that it was a difficult situation. We know that there were things that students really cared about that they were not able to do anymore. It bothered teachers as well not to do those things, however teachers had to take a stand."

Doucet said the Education Department would provide more information to school boards leading up to Monday.

Work-to-rule has drawn the ire of many for its impact on students' sports, extra help and school trips since it was put into effect Dec. 5.

Teachers to vote Feb. 8

Details of the agreement have not been released. Doucet said teachers would be provided with the details during regional meetings in the next two weeks and a vote on the tentative agreement is scheduled for Feb. 8.

The province's 9,300 public school teachers have previously rejected two tentative deals recommended to them by union leadership. Doucet said it would be "up to the membership to make a decision on whether we were able to achieve what they were looking for."

Sticking points throughout negotiations have included concerns about increased paperwork, more money for classrooms and dealing with an increasing number of students with complex needs. There has also been strong disagreement about compensation and the fate of the long-service award paid out at retirement.

The teachers' last contract expired on July 31, 2015.

Education Minister Karen Casey said in a news release she was "pleased to have reached this point."

"Both government and the union worked hard to come to this agreement."

About the Author

Michael Gorman

Reporter

Michael Gorman is a reporter in Nova Scotia whose coverage areas include Province House, rural communities, and health care. Contact him with story ideas at michael.gorman@cbc.ca

With files from Paul Withers