Teachers not budging
Union believes old contract still valid

by Mark Sproxton
Northern News Services

NNSL (DEC 16/96) - The NWT Teachers' Association will take legal action if the territorial government doesn't return to the bargaining table.

John ToddThe association believes their previous contract is still effective because of a clause in the agreement and doesn't believe Finance Minister John Todd (left) can impose the government's last offer.

Todd said Dec. 6 he will impose a new contract despite it being rejected by 68 per cent of the 1,000 teachers.

But the old contract says it remains in effect until a new one signed.

"Because our old agreement is still in effect, he doesn't have the right to impose the changes," said Pat Thomas, president of the teachers association. "We want to go back to the table."

Todd said Dec. 6 the government has no flexibility to change terms of the contract.

The contract Todd wants includes:

The teachers' association will file its court challenge this week if the government doesn't make a pledge to return to the table, Thomas said.

"We've never said the government shouldn't be trying to reach its deficit goals," she said. "We're just not happy with this. We want our members to have time to plan their lives."

Todd could not be reached last Friday for comment.

The teachers' contract was scheduled to expire Oct. 31. The government's proposal would last until Aug. 31, 1999.