MEDIA RELEASE: Union Grieves Unreasonable Delay in Backpay for School Support Workers

While school support workers’ strike action ended more than a year ago, hundreds of these workers have still not received substantial back pay that is owed to them by their employers. As a result, the NSGEU is moving ahead with grievances against each of the three Centres for Education involved, taking them to arbitration to seek a fair resolve – including interest and damages – for members.

“More than 800 school support workers, who are delivering critical services in schools in our rural communities – resolved their strike and negotiated a new contract back in November 2022. That settlement ensured they would be compensated the same as school employees in other areas of the province. But many are still owed significant backpay by their employer, some of which dates back to November 2022 and are being told they will have to wait until March 2024 to receive those funds,” said NSGEU President Sandra Mullen, “People are struggling now – government should not be making them suffer through another cold winter without money that is owed to them.”

One aspect of the new contracts was a comprehensive compensation review process, which resulted in many pay bands being adjusted substantially upward to match those in other Centres for Education and the CSAP. The employers – South Shore Regional Centre for Education, Annapolis Valley Regional Centre for Education, and Tri-County Regional Centre for Education – say that they will not implement the new wage rates or pay affected members their owed backpay until March 2024, which is the very same month that these Collective Agreements will expire. The employers have all denied the grievances, which means that they do not intend to implement the new rates or pay the retroactive wages any earlier than March 2024. We have moved forward with referring these grievances to Arbitration, where an Arbitrator will decide the merits of the grievances and whether members will be awarded the additional interest and damages we are seeking on their behalf.

The process included determining proper comparators to similar jobs across the province and determining a total compensation rate for all classifications. Many of these matters were resolved in the summer, but the employers and government did not act to implement the pay adjustments as quickly as they should have.

“It is unfortunate that the employers could not conclude this matter in a timely manner, and as a result, they may need to pay a penalty in the form of interest for their failure,” said President Mullen. “More than a year after the strike and school employees in the South Shore, Valley and Tri-County still haven’t received their appropriate pay and retro.”

Classifications that have been reviewed and agreed to, to date include Educational Assistants, Early Childhood Educators, Lead Early Childhood Educators, Student Support Workers, Native Student Advisors, Administrative Assistants, Library personnel, Receptionists, Assistive Technology Support Workers and IT staff. This represents the vast majority of the locals, although there are still a number of classifications rates to be reviewed and agreed to, Outreach Workers, Student Supervisors, Child and Youth Practitioners, Parent Navigators, Central Office Clerks and Cafeteria Worker.



The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union represents approximately 36,000 workers who provide quality public services Nova Scotians count on every day.

For more information, contact:  

Holly Fraughton, Communications Officer, 902-471-1781,

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