HALIFAX – After a week of rallies, school closures, and the launch of a work-to-rule campaign, it appears the McNeil Government and the Nova Scotia Teachers Union are still locked in a stalemate over their labour dispute.
Education Minister Karen Casey is pointing the finger at the union over the breakdown in negotiations, telling reporters on Thursday that the province is still open to returning to the bargaining table.
“They walked away from the table. We want to be at the table, that’s the only way we can continue those negotiations and we’ve said publicly many times that we’d like them to come back,” she said.
“What the union brought to the table was a very long and unaffordable list of asks.”
Casey: ‘Still fit to handle file’
On Monday, Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie had called for Casey’s resignation, saying she “no longer has the moral authority to carry this file and negotiate with teachers going forward.”
That sentiment was carried over into Tuesday night’s NSTU rally in front of Province House, where protesters chanted “Karen Casey has got to go.”
— Chris Halef (@ChrisHalef) December 6, 2016
This was a response to the province’s recent actions, where they closed schools on Monday to ensure student safety, but later re-opened them Tuesday, after they said their concerns had been addressed.
Casey is calling Baillie’s comments “purely political”, and believes she is still fit to handle this situation.
“The premier has made it very clear that he has confidence in me. I believe I have the track record that would say, ‘she’s the person to be leading this file,’ and I will continue,” said Casey.
The NSTU responded to the minister’s comments, saying they are willing to return to the bargaining table, but only if the province is ready to genuinely negotiate.