Talks break off between NLTA and government

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Josh Pennell
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Teachers’ association says negotiator’s mandate not clear

Talks with the government have broken off because the government’s negotiators don’t have a clear mandate on what the government is willing to offer, says Jim Dinn, the president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association (NLTA).

“Our chief negotiator, our chair and the team itself came to the very clear conclusion that the government team still doesn’t seem to have the mandate to negotiate fully,” Dinn told The Telegram Monday.

“We’re at the stage where we’ve talked as much as we can. The negotiating team members are frustrated. I’m frustrated. I should say teachers are frustrated, as well.”

Dinn said the government hasn’t made a salary offer yet and it’s futile to carry on until the government negotiators clarify their mandate.

Expectations were high that a deal between the government and NLTA would be settled relatively quickly, but according to Dinn things have been gradually slowing down since negotiations began.

The NLTA is sending a letter to the Labour Relations Board to request a conciliation officer in the hope that such a move will break the stalemate the NLTA feels it is at.

“I’ll be comfortable when I hear from our negotiating team and our chair and our chief negotiator that, look, obviously the other side has a clear mandate to negotiate openly and fully,” Dinn said.

Finance Minister Charlene Johnson released a written statement on the matter Monday.

“The process is ongoing. The NLTA has decided to seek assistance through conciliation, which is not uncommon in the course of collective bargaining. While these processes are ongoing, we will not be commenting on any specific collective bargaining issues,” the statement reads.

As for when both sides will meet at the table again, Dinn said that’s up to the other side.

“That’s really going to be up to government itself right now. Our teams are ready.”

josh.pennell@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Labour Relations Board

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