MEDIA RELEASE: Education Minister Dodges “Parity” Question in Legislature
Following a week of Education Minister Becky Druhan stating that she “supports parity” for striking education workers, when given the opportunity to explain what her government’s definition of parity is, she refused to answer the question.
In the Legislature Tuesday, Minister Druhan was asked: “Does the minister’s definition of wage parity mean that every education support worker in the Valley and South Shore will be paid the same as those working in Halifax, now – yes or no?”
Minister Druhan refused to answer the question, instead saying: “There seems to be a misconception across the table as to who exactly is party to the collective agreements that we have in place in Education and Early Childhood Development. I’d like to remind the members that the parties to our agreements in education are the regions, or the CSAP, and the unions. Those are the parties who bargain these deals. Those are the parties who are negotiating. The process here is that those parties bargain so we are very encouraging of those parties to get back to the table and bargain the parity and the path to parity that we are looking for so that we can have equivalencies and compensation and our students can get back to school.”
In an email to striking workers, the Minister’s office has said workers should receive wage parity across the province. What Druhan didn’t say is that she wanted to continue to pay them less than people doing the same jobs in Halifax.
Her email response states: “We know NSGEU is concerned about wage parity across the Regional Education Centres, and the Employer has proposed a way to ensure that happens.”
“We know that the process Minister Druhan continues to reference has been rejected by these workers because it wouldn’t ensure people on the South Shore and in the Valley would receive the same wage that is being paid right now in Halifax,” said NSGEU President Sandra Mullen, “She wants to level the playing field, but level it down for some people. That is understandably unacceptable to these workers.”
Meanwhile, MLAs, teachers, nurses and other public sector workers are paid the same wage for the same work, no matter where they work in Nova Scotia.
“The Minister must also explain to her own constituents why she believes they are worth less than those doing the same work in the city,” said Mullen.
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