Teachers' work-to-rule boots Santa from New Waterford school

Published on December 20, 2016

Santa Claus wasn't welcome at Greenfield Elementary this week.

©FILE - Cape Breton Post

NEW WATERFORD, N.S. - It looks like Santa Claus is on a Cape Breton school’s naughty list.

According to the Scotchtown Volunteer Fire Department, Saint Nick was asked to leave Greenfield Elementary School on Monday after unwittingly parking his sleigh in the middle of a contract dispute between the provincial government and the Nova Scotia Teachers Union.

The fire department posted to social media to explain Santa’s sudden departure after bringing Christmas cheer to only a handful of classrooms in the school outside New Waterford.

“We were informed in a professional and courteous manner that our visit had to be cut short,” the fire department wrote on its Facebook page. “The situation was handled without any confrontation between staff and volunteers.”

Kriss Kringle has graced the halls of the local elementary schools for more than six decades, according to the fire department, whose volunteers serve the Scotchtown, River Ryan, and Lingan communities.

RELATED: Cape Breton students ask work-to-rule questions upon return to class

This year, Santa may have encroached on the NSTU work-to-rule job action, assuming that stocking stuffing exceeds the scope of the union’s contract.

“(We) can empathize with disappointed students and their families when our little ones were not able to visit with Santa,” the fire department wrote.

“We will continue … respecting the needs of students and staff in light of the current contract negotiations.”

The fire department was careful not to take sides in the union-government negotiations that – short of a Christmas miracle – threaten to drag into the new year.