Tentative Agreement Reached With Thousands Of N.S. Educational Support Workers

Tentative Agreement Reached With Thousands Of N.S. Educational Support Workers

Education Minister Becky Druhan answers questions from the October 25 report. © Dave Laughlin/CBC Education Secretary Becky Druhan answers questions from the October 25 report.

Nova Scotia's education minister said the province's Regional Education Centers have reached a tentative agreement with CUPE on education support staff, averting a potential strike by thousands of education support workers.

In an interview with the CBC morning news on Wednesday, Minister Becky Druhan said the next step for CUPE members will be to see and vote on a deal.

"We always hope that the parties reach an agreement without interrupting training, and the people at the table are working very hard on that," he said.

Druhan said the province will not comment further on the negotiations until CUPE members have heard from the CUPE Joint Council of the Nova Scotia School Board and had an opportunity to vote. He added that there should be additional information about today's voting time.

The Nova Scotia CUPE School Board Union Council represents approximately 5,400 workers across the province, including bus drivers, cleaners, handymen, educational program assistants and early childhood educators, among others.

The union recently announced that it will strike from April 21 unless it reaches an agreement with the regional and regional educational centers.

Union president Nan McFadgen previously said the key issue would be ensuring wages keep pace with inflation.

In an interview with News Morning, McFadgen said the union was happy with the deal. Like Druhan, he said he couldn't comment on the talks or a tentative deal, but a deal was reached Wednesday morning.

"We're going to take a few minutes to catch our breath and then work will start on the ratification meeting and we'll be on it," McFadgen said.

He added that it could be weeks before the agreement is officially ratified.

“We have 5,400 affiliates to inform of what this initial agreement contains. With communication comes clarification, opportunities to ask questions,” McFadgen explained. “It will take time to communicate this to those who want to hear it.”

Here and Now, Wednesday April 19, 2023

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