Teachers accept contract

Maria Canton
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (Mar 27/00) - Teachers in Nunavut voted 68 per cent to accept their first collective agreement with the Government of Nunavut recently.

More than 560 ballots were cast on March 17 -- 94 per cent of eligible voters -- and the Federation of Nunavut Teachers president, Donna Stephania, says now it's a matter of implementing all of the clauses.

"Questions from our members are now coming in about the retroactive pay," said Stephania.

"It's the end of March and the collective agreement increases to our salaries are retroactive to September 1999 and that's an issue for our members -- they've earned it and they want it."

The collective agreement includes a nine per cent salary increase over the next three years, of which 3.5 per cent is effective September 1999.

Teachers will also receive a one-time $750 professional allowance if employed as of February 21, 2000 -- the day the final details of the agreement were reached.

Other increases include an extra 10 per cent towards the Northern living allowance, effective September 1999, and a 1.5 per cent salary increase on April 1, 2000.

However, Stephania says several other areas still need to be addressed.

Teachers want more funding for special needs students and support services, programs and materials development.

Memoranda of understanding are part of the agreement and Finance Minister Kelvin Ng says they will look at these issues as part of the negotiated agreement.

"I think those talks will begin fairly immediately because we've signed off on them in the agreement," said Ng. "We're definitely pleased with the agreement."