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Over 600 school support workers strike at Annapolis Valley Regional Centre for Education

Halifax (24 Oct. 2022) — Over 600 members of Local 73 of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees' Union (NSGEU/NUPGE) went on strike today. These workers are employed by the Annapolis Valley Regional Centre for Education (AVRCE) and have been fighting for wage equity at the negotiating table. 

Members of Local 73 include: early childhood educators, outreach workers, student support workers, office administration assistants, clerks, including receptionist/clerks, purchasing clerks, accounting clerks, payroll clerks, and transportation clerks, and IT support specialists.

Low wages have led to recruitment and retention issues

The wages school support workers are paid are very low and are different depending on where they work. This has led to difficulties recruiting and retaining workers.

With Regional Centres of Education and government refusing to address the issues causing severe shortages in the sector, school support workers are being forced to strike to ensure they can be there to support students in the future.

Local 73 members are asking for very reasonable wage increases that would see the lowest paid workers be brought up to close to a living wage. 

“Our members have been supporting the system throughout the pandemic and care deeply about the work they do and the students they support. It is time that the government and the employer show them how much they care about the work they do and the services they provide and come to the table with necessary improvements," said Sandra Mullen, NSGEU President.

Wage equity just makes sense

The message being sent to the school board and the government is that people should be paid the same wage for doing the same work, no matter where they live. 

"This is an issue of fairness," said Bert Blundon, President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). "If people are doing the same work, they should be getting the same pay no matter where they live. These workers are the backbone of our school system and deserve to be treated with more respect."

How you can help

NSGEU/NUPGE is asking people to show their support for the striking workers because without them, schools and classrooms just can’t work.

Supporters can send a letter to Tim Houston, Nova Scotia Premier, Becky Druhan, Minister of Education, opposition parties and their MLA to tell them to end the strike and get back to the table to negotiate a fair deal.