NWT teachers favour job action
Strike vote brings teachers closer to picket line

Dane Gibson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 11/99) - NWT Teachers' Association (NWTTA) president, Pat Thomas, said their members overwhelmingly supported job action after a strike vote was held Oct. 6.

Of the eligible NWTTA voters, 93 per cent cast ballots and 96 per cent voted in favour of job action.

GNWT Education Minister, Michael Miltenberger, said they are now preparing plans to protect NWT students in the event of a strike.

"They've sent the signal, so it's good management to be prepared," Miltenberger said. "The goal is to negotiate a settlement to ensure our students' education is not disrupted and I'm confident we can do that, but as a prudent measure we're developing contingency plans in the eventuality that (teachers) take job action," Miltenberger said.

Thomas said mediation with the GNWT is scheduled for Nov. 3-5 and a strike will only commence if members reject the final offer that comes out of those meetings.

A teachers' strike will affect all 400 teachers outside of Yellowknife.

The bargaining unit representing teachers has been trying to negotiate a deal with the GNWT since last May.