Unions denounce exclusion of workers from discussions about safety in schools

Nova Scotia’s Conservative government has passed a motion excluding teachers and education workers from discussions about violence in schools. In response, unions have denounced the decision and calling for it to be reversed.

On a motion from Tory MLA Nolan Young, the Provincial Standing Committee on Public Accounts decided to limit the number of witnesses testifying at its discussion of an upcoming report from the Auditor General titled Preventing and Addressing Violence in Public Schools. In fact, the committee is only allowing one witness – Deputy Minister of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development Elwin LeRoux.

CUPE Nova Scot

“It’s workers who are dealing with violence in the workplace every single day. If the government chooses to prevent unions from participating in discussions about violence in schools, they are choosing to shut out the voices of those working on the frontlines of this issue,” said CUPE Nova Scotia President Nan McFadgen.

CUPE Nova Scotia represents 5,000 school support staff across the province. In 2022, the union surveyed school support staff on their experience of violence in schools. It found that 50 percent of support staff felt they did not receive a response to workplace violence reports, and 43 percent felt the employer does not do enough to prevent workplace violence.

“While we welcome efforts to investigate this pressing issue, it should not, and cannot, come at the expense of one of the largest groups of employees within the school system,” said Nelson Scott, chair of the Nova Scotia School Board Council of Unions, NSSBCU. The NSSBCU is the bargaining council for the eight CUPE locals representing school support staff across the province.

CUPE Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Teachers Union are calling on the Provincial Standing Committee to reconsider this decision and to involve teachers and education workers in the upcoming discussions.

[Photo: Education Minister Becky Druhan]

Support socialist media!

If you found this article useful, please consider donating to People’s Voice or purchasing a subscription so that you get every issue of Canada’s leading socialist publication delivered to your door or inbox!

For over 100 years, we have been 100% reader-supported, with no corporate or government funding.

Sign up for regular updates from People's Voice!

You will receive email notifications with our latest headlines.