Tentative teachers contract includes 7 per cent wage increase

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The proposed contract Nova Scotia teachers will be asked to vote on next month includes a seven per cent wage increase over four years.

A video presentation to members, which was posted online, shows a two per cent wage increase in the first year of the deal, retroactive to Aug. 1, 2019.

There would be another two per cent increase in the second year, followed by 1.5 per cent wage increases in each of the final two years.

Teachers would also see a 25 per cent increase in marking and preparation time, if the deal is approved.

"It's been at 10 per cent for more than 50 years," Wally Fiander, the union's lead negotiator, said in the video.

"Any increase in prep time should be considered to be a significant gain."

Proposed deal reached last week

The proposed agreement also includes increases in the professional development funds for each of the regional centres for education and the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial, the province's French-language school board.

The tentative deal was reached last Friday following a two-day negotiation session. In total, 26 days of bargaining went into reaching the tentative agreement. Teachers have been without a contract since July 31, 2019.

The union has scheduled three telephone town hall meetings next week to review the proposal with members and answer any questions ahead of a ratification vote on Nov. 18.

Unlike previous instances, the union executive is not making a recommendation to members on the proposal. During the last round of contract negotiations, the province and executive reached three tentative deals, all of which were recommended to membership. They were all voted down.

Robert Short/CBC
Robert Short/CBC

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 deal teachers will be asked to vote on does not include matters related to the pension plan. The government and union have agreed to deal with that outside of the collective agreement through the use of a three-person expert committee.

The financial terms of this proposed agreement are not dissimilar to the contract the province recently agreed to with Crown attorneys. That four-year deal also included a seven per cent pay increase over the life of the contract.

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