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Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley – Parents, students join striking school staff in HalifaxSEDI News

A week-long strike by educational assistants and early childhood teachers in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley and South Shore has kept pre-primary children and students with disabilities out of school.

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On Tuesday, some parents in Kingston, NS, took their children to join the picket line and show support for the workers, who many say are like family.

“When your child is upset, it’s one of the worst feelings in the world when you can’t do anything to fix it,” said parent Shannon Landry-Taylor. “So this is me trying to fix it.”

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Hundreds of school workers in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley on strike over pay

She said her son has made progress in his speech since starting school in September and is now upset that he cannot attend school with his sister.

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The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU) Local 70 represents the South Shore Regional Center for Education staff and Local 73 represents the Annapolis Valley Regional Center for Education staff.


Click to play video: 'NSGEU president speaks to Global News Morning on school support staff strike'


The NSGEU president spoke to Global News Morning about the school support staff strike


The two locals went on strike last week after more than a year of bargaining. Combined, more than 700 members are out of a job.

Striking workers include educational assistants, early childhood teachers, student support workers and outreach workers.

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NS mom worried as school support workers set to strike in Annapolis Valley

The union says the main issue is that staff in the Annapolis Valley and on the province’s South Shore earn less than employees in similar jobs in Halifax, with starting wages as low as minimum wage for some positions.

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The strike has caused pre-primary classes to be canceled and children who need academic support miss out on valuable class time.

“We miss our children and they need us. We need them,” said Emily Thomas, an early childhood teacher.

“We do our work because we love it. We do this work because our children matter and we do this work because we love making a difference in their lives.”


Click to play video: 'NSGEU president speaks to Global News Morning on school support staff strike'


The NSGEU president spoke to Global News Morning about the school support staff strike


Carla Jessom, a mother of three, said the strike was affecting the entire community.

“They should be back in the classroom with people who love them and care about them,” she said of the students.

The province’s education minister, Becky Druhan, said she knows the strike is disruptive for families.

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“The region is working individually to ensure the greatest continuity of learning possible during this time,” Druhan said.

The Annapolis Valley Regional Center for Education said their goal is to align compensation province-wide. However, the NSGEU said there had been no talks since the strike began.

– With file from Rebecca Lau

© 2022 Global News, a division of Chorus Entertainment Inc.

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