HALIFAX, NS – Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie says with just over two weeks left before a possible teachers’ strike, Stephen McNeil needs to stop playing games and do the right thing to avoid a strike.
Nova Scotia’s teachers will be in a legal position to give notice to strike on December 3, 2016. They could begin walking picket lines as early as December 5, 2016.
In a November 16 television news interview, Premier McNeil stated that he was prepared to go back to the table but the Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU) would not agree.
This doesn’t jive with the facts.
Just recently, Minister of Labour Kelly Regan outright rejected the NSTU requests for a conciliation board and mediation.
“The McNeil Liberals are talking out of both sides of their mouths,” says Baillie. “It’s no wonder everyone is confused and concerned about the government’s handling of this situation.”
Baillie says Premier McNeil continues to make statements that completely contradict his actions and that of his Ministers.
“What makes this completely unacceptable is that our school kids are the ones caught in the middle of this increasingly hostile stand-off,” says Baillie. “Instead of gunning for a strike, Premier McNeil should show some openness to resolving this impasse at the negotiating table.”
Baillie adds that McNeil has an entire government at his disposal to help find negotiated solutions to the challenges raised by teachers. Yet, rather than use those resources he has chosen to repeatedly pre-empt negotiations by setting pre-conditions and running anti-teachers TV ads.
“The Premier is essentially saying he will go back to the table, but then frustrates every attempt to actually get to the table,” says Baillie. “That’s no way to lead.”
Baillie is calling on the Labour Minister to call in a mediator.
“Both sides have said they want to get to the table,” says Baillie. “What more does she need to give mediation a try?”