Welcome To
Acadia Broadcasting NewsThe Latest and Greatest ContentYour Trusted Local Source


Members of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union gather outside the Royal Canadian Legion in Lower Sackville, N.S., as part of the Our Kids Can't Wait rally on April 10, 2024. (Jacob Moore/Acadia Broadcasting)

NSTU and provincial government reach ‘principle agreement’

By Jacob Moore Apr 18, 2024 | 12:15 PM

The Nova Scotia Teacher’s Union (NSTU) reached a “principle agreement” with the provincial government during conciliation talks earlier this week.

The agreement still has to be finalized, and the bargaining team will present everything to teachers next week, says NSTU President Ryan Lutes.

“Because of the loud message that our members sent with our resounding strike vote mandate, we were able to come to an agreement that we think puts teachers and kids ahead.”

After about 10 months of bargaining, the Nova Scotia Teachers union voted 98 per cent in favour of a strike mandate April 11.

The union previously stated that it wanted a new collective agreement to address a record amount of violence in schools, teacher retention, working conditions and wages.

Lutes says negotiations were slow ahead of that strike vote. The government wasn’t committed to putting teachers and student ahead, he says, but in the last few days that changed. He says the government and the union worked together to create an agreement that’s good for both.

“It’s not going to fix the school system in an instant but it does push ahead our priorities of teacher’s and students in a positive way.”

The bargaining process took longer than normal, he says. Monday and Tuesday were scheduled meeting days, but the union and the government met again on Wednesday.

Agreement finalizing

Because of that, the agreement was reached verbally Wednesday. He says it should be in writing later next week.

The bargaining team will then look at the agreement, do their “due diligence.” Then the executive will examine the agreement to determine when teachers can learn about the agreement and when they will vote to ratify it.

Going through a strike mandate is stressful for teachers and parents, says Lutes, but he’s glad they have a new agreement.

Premier Tim Houston says that the concerns of the union, like classroom conditions, are also concerns to him.

“We sat down and had just kind of a real frank discussion about what was important to the government and what was important to the NSTU and its members. And they’re the same things. So we just tried to refocus, and hopefully that was productive,” Houston says.

Becky Druhan, education minister, says the government shares the urgency to improve the education system.

The government will take action on some things immediately, but other changes will take longer than others, she says.

“We’ve heard the urgency that teachers and NSTU have arounds the issues that they’ve identified and we do absolutely share them,” she says.

With files from Kevin Northup.