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Organized labour in Cape Breton is coming together to fight a second round of school board cuts announced by the Nova Scotia Education Minister on Friday, February 17.

CUPE Local 5050, which represents some 1,300 school board workers at the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board (CBVRSB), is teaming up with the Cape Breton and District Labour Council in opposition to a 2.1 per cent budget cut.

Both groups met Saturday, February 11, to begin putting together a fight-back campaign.

Local 5050 Fight-back Committee Chair Mary Jessome says, “Along with this cut, the boards have been told they must absorb inflation costs as well as any wage increases for employees. So parents with children in our school system really need to understand that we’re talking about considerably more than 2.1 per cent in cuts.”

Says Jessome, “We urge the CBVRSB to be more forthcoming with information than they were during last year’s round of cuts.”

Local 5050 President Liz MacDonald says, “Last year, school boards were told to cut 1.65 per cent from their budgets and that resulted in 92 positions being eliminated right here at the Cape Breton-Victoria Board. The bulk of those cuts were Teaching Assistants who work with children with special needs, but there were also cuts to cleaners, library staff, maintenance, lunch, bus & grounds monitors and more.”

As part of the fight-back campaign, labour is planning rallies, a ‘Town Hall’ meeting for parents of children with special needs, lobbying of local NDP MLAs and more.

See below for the latest print ad to run in the Cape Breton Post, urging parents to call NDP MLA’s Frank Corbett and Gordie Gosse if they are upset about the cuts.